1. Farewell Tour

    Gates Asks for Patience in Afghan War

    KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - JUNE 4:  U.S Secretary of Defense Robert Gates speaks during a press conference with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai June 4, 2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Gates, who will be leaving office at the end of June, arrived in Afghanistan Saturday afternoon for his 12th and final trip as Secretary of Defense to discuss issues dealing with winning the war in Afghanistan instead of on the conflict's costs.  (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

    Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates called for patience with the war in Afghanistan and said that only modest troop reductions would make sense this summer, as the country remains unstable. He said that much depends on whether Osama bin Laden’s death will create a new opening for peace negotiations with the Taliban insurgency; he said that there might be a possibility for such negotiations by the end of this year. However, he added, “Making any changes prior to that time would be premature.” A decision on U.S. troop reductions is expected within the next couple of weeks. Gates also stressed that a premature U.S. troop withdrawal could undermine battlefield gains and jeopardize a NATO-endorsed plan to remove all foreign combat troops by 2015.

    Read it at The New York Times