Gates: U.S. Should Stay Involved in Afghanistanhttp://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/03/07/gates-afghanistan-evaluate-war-progress/
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday that both the U.S. and Afghan governments agree the American military should remain involved in Afghanistan after the planned 2014 end of combat operations to help train and advise Afghan forces.
"Obviously it would be a small fraction of the presence that we have today, but I think we're willing to do that," Gates told a group of U.S. troops at Bagram air field, which is headquarters for U.S. and NATO forces in eastern Afghanistan. "My sense is, they (Afghan officials) are interested in having us do that."
A soldier asked Gates about a long-term military presence, and Gates noted that Washington and Kabul have recently begun negotiating a security partnership. He mentioned no details. He was to meet later in the day with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Gates is at the start of a two-day visit with U.S. troops, allied commanders and Afghan leaders to gauge war progress as the Obama administration moves toward crucial decisions on reducing troop levels.
Gates planned to travel to eastern and southern portions of Afghanistan, the areas most fiercely contested by the Taliban insurgency.