Gates rejects transition date emboldens Taliban

AP News
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Posted: Dec 06, 2009 8:32 AM

Defense Secretary Robert Gates rejects any suggestion that setting a transition date for withdrawing U.S. forces in Afghanistan will embolden the Taliban.

Gates tells CBS' "Face The Nation" that the Taliban read the newspapers and are able to determine public opinion in the United States and Europe.

He doesn't believe the Taliban will become more aggressive and he would welcome it if they lay low until July 2011 _ President Barack Obama's target date for the beginning of a withdrawal.

Gates says that would give coalition troops opportunities to make great progress in stabilizing Afghanistan.