WASHINGTON, June 18 (UPI) -- Much work is needed to stabilize Afghanistan, but U.S. military forces are committed to the fight, a Defense Department spokesman said.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, his spokesman said, has expressed concern about the growling level of pessimism over U.S. operations in Afghanistan.
"It just seems as though there is a great deal of not just skepticism, but cynicism about … our operations there, and an effort to prematurely judge the outcome of the strategy," said spokesman Geoff Morrell in Pentagon briefing.
Morrell said U.S. forces, along with their international and Afghan counterparts, have made significant progress in parts of the country formerly held by insurgent forces.
With most of the U.S. forces slated for Afghanistan still on their way and more than a year to go before military leaders look at leaving the country, Morrell said there was time to change the situation on the ground.
"We have a lot of work to do, no doubt, between now and then," he said. "But there is still a lot of time left on the clock for us ... to change the conditions on the ground."