Defense Secretary Robert Gates is predicting that only a small number of U.S. forces will come home from Afghanistan when a presidentially mandated withdrawal begins a year from now.
Gates reaffirms that a withdrawal will begin in July 2011. He says he thinks the initial pullout will be modest, and that a large number of U.S. forces will remain in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon chief says the pace of the withdrawal would pick up as security conditions improve.
The U.S. will have more than 100,000 troops in Afghanistan by the end of this summer. The plan is to begin bringing them home next July, with the scope of the pullout to be determined by security conditions then.
Gates was interviewed for ABC's "This Week."
© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.