Gates: Actually, progress in Afghanistan has been better than expected

Gates gave his assessment on the second day of a visit to Afghanistan that included stops at several U.S. military bases and a meeting with President Hamid Karzai.

“I will go back convinced that our strategy is working,” he said at a news conference with Karzai. “The bottom line is that over the last 12 months we’ve come a long way. . . . There is no denying that the security climate is improving and that the sacrifices of Afghan and coalition troops are achieving greater safety and security.”…

U.S. officials have said that the review is not expected to result in major policy changes, but Gates’s comments were perhaps the most optimistic yet to come from the Obama administration. In comparison, recent status reports on the war given to Congress by the White House and the Pentagon have been more cautious and critical.