9 Dec 2009

US in Afghanistan for the long haul - Gates

9:05 pm on 9 December 2009

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has held talks in Afghanistan with President Hamid Karzai, a week after the United States decided to send an extra 30,000 troops there.

The BBC reports Mr Gates says the US is in Afghanistan for the long haul. He says it will not turn away from Afghanistan and abandon it.

Mr Karzai warned it will be 15 years before Afghanistan is able to pay for its own security forces and he hopes the US and the international community will continue funding them.

NATO members have also agreed to deploy another 7000 troops.

The United States commander in Afghanistan says al-Qaeda won't be defeated until its leader is captured or killed.

Giving evidence to the US Congress, General Stanley McChrystal said Osama bin Laden is an iconic figure whose continued survival emboldens al-Qaeda.

General McChrystal says the s decision to deploy 30,000 more American troops will help reverse the Taliban's momentum.