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Gates in Kabul on farewell visit

Gates in Kabul on farewell visit

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On
Jun 04, 2011 - 17:39

KABULinfo-icon(PANinfo-icon): Outgoing US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who is due to retire at the end of June, arrived in Kabul on a farewell visit on Saturday noon, officials said.

He flew into the Afghan capital from Singapore to meet US troops, President Hamid Karzai and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAFinfo-icon) commander, Gen. David Petraeus.

Gates would address a joint media briefing along with President Karzai at the end of their meeting later in the evening, an Afghan government official confided to Pajhwok Afghan News.

Speaking to reporters in Singapore earlier in the day, he called for reconciliation with Talibaninfo-icon. "I think there is a generally accepted view that all conflicts of this kind eventually come to a close through some kind of political settlement."

But the chances of a political settlement would not become real until the insurgents, who have been ousted from their strongholds in Helmand and Kandahar provinces, began to realise that they could not win militarily.

"If we sustain those successes, we can expand the security bubble," Gates said, believing some type of political talks on reconciliation would be possible in the winter if the fighters remained under constant pressure.

He viewed the growth of Afghan forces, the transition to Afghan security lead and the various development projects in Afghanistaninfo-icon as important contributors to the future of the country.

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