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Gates Warns U.S. Troops of ‘More Tough Days’ in Afghanistan


U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

The Associated Press via NBC News
September 3, 2010

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — As the last of 30,000 U.S. reinforcements arrive in Afghanistan, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Friday got a firsthand look at operations in the dangerous south where Afghan and international troops are ramping up security.

Gates traveled to Kandahar province, a region where U.S., Afghan and NATO forces are trying to rout insurgents from their strongholds and bolster governance.

The Taliban are fighting back, waging a fear and intimidation campaign to keep local Afghans from siding with international forces and the Afghan government.

“You guys are in the forward foxhole and what makes a difference in the whole campaign is your success here in Kandahar city,” Gates told U.S. troops at Camp Nathan Smith, headquarters for U.S. operations in the largest city in southern Afghanistan.


U.S. Marines in the background provide security as a Marine and a U.S. Army Task Force Shadow flight medic, right, rush a Marine wounded in an explosive attack across a field to a medevac helicopter, west of Lashkar Gah, in southern Afghanistan Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010. (Photo credit: Brennan Linsley / AP)

Gates spoke with a couple dozen U.S. service members in a courtyard ringed with heavily armored all-terrain vehicles designed to help them survive the homemade bombs that are the biggest death threat to coalition troops.

They were part of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, which arrived Aug. 18, and has already lost eight soldiers — seven last Monday alone in two separate explosions.

“Unfortunately, there are going to be more tough days ahead,” Gates said. “You know that better than anybody.”

One soldier asked Gates why the U.S. doesn’t go after insurgents hiding in neighboring Pakistan. …

“I think the likelihood of direct U.S. military engagement in Pakistan is very low,” Gates said. …

“Everyone understands that the sanctuaries on the other side of the border are a big problem” and the joint U.S.-Pakistan objective is to expunge those hideouts, Gates said.

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Related report

2010 Already Deadliest Year for U.S. Troops in Afghanistan


September 1, 2010

In only eight months, 2010 has become the deadliest year for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, according to a CNN count of Pentagon and NATO figures.

At least 321 troops have died so far in 2010, the highest yearly toll since the conflict began nearly nine years ago. The previous high was last year’s 313 American deaths.

The deaths occurred during an increase of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and fierce fighting across the nation, particularly in the southern and eastern regions. Roadside bombs were responsible for many of the combat deaths.

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Related link

Home and Away: Casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan

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Related report on this site

Tough Days Ahead in Afghanistan (May 13, 2010)

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FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — September 3, 2009

Former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), Distinguished Professor in the Practice of National Governance at Georgetown University; and Aubrey Immelman, Associate Professor of Psychology, St. Johns University, Collegeville, Minn., Sept. 23, 2009.
Chuck Hagel and Aubrey Immelman

Chuck Hagel on National Defense

One year ago today, on the same day that Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Obama administration’s effort in the eight-year-old Afghanistan war was “only now beginning,” I reported that former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) — my choice for successor to Secretary Gates — published an op-ed article in the Washington Post in which he cautioned, “No country today has the power to impose its will and values on other nations. … Bogging down large armies in historically complex, dangerous areas ends in disaster.”

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FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — September 3, 2008

On the Campaign Trail: Day 51

Two years ago today, on the 51st day of my 2008 campaign against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, I released a video statement regarding the serious national security implications of the Iraq war, which Rep. Bachmann failed to address the previous evening in her speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

The full text of the statement is available on the blog entry for August 30, 2008.





6 Responses to “‘Tough Days Ahead’ in Afghanistan”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » $1,000 Bounty for Dead Americans Says:

    […] ‘Tough Days Ahead’ in Afghanistan (Sept. 3, 2010) […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Record Afghan War Dead Says:

    […] Military and civilian casualties in Afghanistan are at record levels, with U.S. and NATO commanders warning of more tough fighting ahead. […]

  3. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Colin Powell on Afghan Policy Says:

    […] ‘Tough Days Ahead’ in Afghanistan (Sept. 3, 2010) […]

  4. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Afghanistan War Cost Too High Says:

    […] ‘Tough Days Ahead’ in Afghanistan (Sept. 3, 2010) […]

  5. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Gates Talks Afghanistan Strategy Says:

    […] ‘Tough Days Ahead’ in Afghanistan (Sept. 3, 2010) […]

  6. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » September 3, 2011 Says:

    […] ‘Tough Days Ahead’ in Afghanistan […]

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