COMBAT OUTPOST SENJERAY, Afghanistan – US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday he saw and heard evidence that the US counterinsurgency strategy is taking hold in critical Kandahar province.
Gates toured US bases and met with troops in the thick of the fighting in Kandahar city and the Taliban haven of Zhari district, west of the city.
"I come away from my visits down here today encouraged," Gates told reporters traveling with him. He said that signs of progress were incremental but growing.
Still, he added, "Everybody knows this is far from a done deal."
With the last of the 30,000 US reinforcements arriving in Afghanistan, Gates wanted a firsthand look at operations in the dangerous south where Afghan and international troops are ramping up security.