U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged Thursday there is a "limited time" to show that the new military strategy is working in Afghanistan, but he denied that the U.S. is in danger of losing the conflict.
Gates told reporters in Washington he does not believe the war in Afghanistan is "slipping through" President Barack Obama's fingers. He said the president's strategy is "only now beginning" and should be given more time to work. He said that earlier this year, the president approved sending an extra 21,000 troops to Afghanistan, and that many of those, as well as civilian workers, still have not arrived in the country.
Gates said any request for further American troops in Afghanistan would come only after officials study the recent assessment of the conditions there. Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, added that the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is not as important as how they are used to protect the Afghan people.