Gates Hints At Earlier Withdrawal Of Some Surge Troops

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says some of the U.S. forces involved in the Afghanistan surge could leave the country before President Barack Obama's announced July 2011 date to begin withdrawal.

Without giving specifics, Gates says, "It would have to be conditions-based."

Gates raised the possibility of some early withdrawals during a visit to a base where Afghan recruits are trained by U.S. and British instructors.

Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said his troops are eager to take on the responsibility for defending the country, but give no indication of when that might be possible.

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