Defense Secretary Robert Gates traveled to Afghanistan to meet with U.S. troops in Kandahar province. He also sent out a strong warning to the Taliban.
"As President Obama has frequently noted, we are not turning off the lights next July," Gates said.
Gates said he sees evidence there that the U.S. counter-insurgency strategy is working to rout out the Taliban and bolster the Afghan government. He also said that if the Taliban is counting on a full withdrawal of U.S. troops next summer, then they should think again.
"If the Taliban really do believe that America is headed for the exits next summer in large numbers, they will be deeply disappointed and surprised to find us very much in the fight," he said.
Gates wanted a first-hand look at operations in the dangerous southern part of Afghanistan where international troops are ramping up security.