American Forces Press Service
Dec. 4, 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates appeared yesterday before the House Armed Services and Senate Foreign Relations committees to discuss the president's revised strategy for Afghanistan. On Dec. 2, he appeared before the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Armed Services committees. Gates summed up why the administration is deploying 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan during yesterday's House Armed Services Committee hearing:
"We cannot defeat al-Qaida and its toxic ideology without improving and stabilizing the security situation in Afghanistan," he said. "The president's decision offers the best possibility to decisively change the momentum in Afghanistan, and fundamentally alter the strategic equation in Pakistan and Central Asia – all necessary to protect the United States, our allies and our vital interests.
"As always, the heaviest burden will fall on the men and women who have volunteered and re-volunteered to serve their country in uniform, and I know they will be uppermost in our minds and prayers as we take on this arduous but vitally necessary mission."
Coverage of the congressional hearings is available on the Defenselink special report on Afghanistan.