US Defense Secretary Robert Gates
Source: Press TV
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has once again defended the US-led military presence in Afghanistan amid mounting pressure on Washington to withdraw troops from the war-weary country.
Gates admitted Wednesday that war fatigue is prevalent in the United States as the Afghan conflict nears its ten-year mark, the Associated Press reported.
“I know people are frustrated. The country has been at war for ten years. I know people are tired,” Gates told US Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
Gates, however, pointed out that the United States and its allies have made progress in building-up Afghan security forces.
The US government is under heavy pressure at home to bring the American troops home from war-torn Afghanistan.
The calls for troops withdrawal have been getting louder since the announcement of the alleged killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden last month.
Also on Wednesday, 27 senators, Democrats and Republicans, sent a letter to US President Barack Obama, pressing for a shift in Afghanistan strategy and major troop cuts.
“Given our successes, it is the right moment to initiate a sizable and sustained reduction in forces, with the goal of steadily redeploying all regular combat troops,'' the senators wrote.
“The costs of prolonging the war far outweigh the benefits. It is time for the United States to shift course in Afghanistan.”