We are not leaving Afghanistan: Robert Gates

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Washington, Oct. 6 (ANI): US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has clearly told Pakistan that America will not leave the Afghanistan war midway despite the ongoing strategy review of Washington's policies in the region.

"I had lunch with the Pakistani ambassador last week, and I made absolutely clear to him: we are not leaving Afghanistan," CNN quoted Gates as saying.

Commenting on Pakistan's concerns over a debate within the Obama administration over Afghanistan, Gates said that the discussion underway at the White House was about the 'next steps forward' in the Afghan war.

"And while there may be some short-term uncertainty on the part of our allies, in terms of those next steps, there should be no uncertainty in terms of our determination to remain in Afghanistan and to continue to build a relationship of partnership and trust with the Pakistanis," he added.

"That's long term (commitment and Afghanistan is) strategically important country,' he added.

Gates was speaking in a joint interview with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

His statements come barely 48 hours after one of the US military's darkest days in eight years of war in Afghanistan, when eight American soldiers and two Afghan soldiers were killed by terrorists in Nuristan province. (ANI)

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