Gates: More US forces for Afghan vote

CORNWALLIS, Nova Scotia (AP) -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he would like to see significant numbers of U.S. forces go into Afghanistan before planned national elections there next year.

Gates said Friday there are no firm plans for when the U.S. would add troops after a few thousand already announced for January. But he said that successful Afghan elections are probably the single most important goal for 2009. He added that he thinks grim accounts of backsliding in the seven-year-old war are too pessimistic.

Gates represented the U.S. at a gathering in Nova Scotia of nations with large numbers of fighting forces in southern Afghanistan.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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