OPTIMISTIC

McChrystal: 'Significant Progress' in Afghanistan

Though other military officials have projected a negative outlook for Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal shared an upbeat view Thursday, saying the security situation was still serious, but not deteriorating. "I'm not prepared to say we have turned the corner," McChrystal said, "[But] I think we have made significant progress in setting conditions in 2009." He also added, "we'll make real progress in 2010." McChrystal said Afghan forces should grow quickly enough to begin troop reductions in 2011, and officials said Defense Secretary Robert Gates will urge NATO allies to send 4,000 trainers and mentors to continue the Afghan army's preparation to take over control. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, however, spouted a different opinion, saying the Taliban "has become increasingly dangerous and destabilizing," and Defense Intelligence Agency Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess said U.S. troops face an "increasingly capable insurgency."