AFP
May 16, 2011

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has said accelerating troop withdrawals from Afghanistan because of Osama bin Laden’s death would be “premature.”

The US covert raid that killed Al-Qaeda’s chief has fueled calls to scale back the massive US presence in Afghanistan, just as President Barack Obama reviews plans to begin pulling out some of the 100,000 troops there in July.

Gates, in an interview broadcast on the CBS news show “60 Minutes,” said it’s too early to consider speeding the pace of withdrawal.

“I think it’s premature,” he said. “I think we just don’t know. It’s only been a week. And people are already drawing historical conclusions. I think that’s a little quick.”

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