U-S Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says the overall security situation in Afghanistan is "basically sound."
Mr. Rumsfeld made the comment today (Tuesday) while talking to reporters at the Pentagon. The defense secretary acknowledges that security remains uneven in Afghanistan.
He says the situation is least stable in areas south and east of the capital, Kabul, where he said local rulers (appointed by Kabul) and local warlords are not cooperating with each other.
The transitional Afghan government exercises control in Kabul with the help of international peacekeepers, but the rest of the country remains largely under the control of local authorities.
At the same time, U-S forces are continuing operations in southern and eastern Afghanistan to flush out pockets of al-Qaida and Taleban fighters.
U-S soldiers also recently were deployed as security guards for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, shortly after one of Afghanistan's three vice presidents was assassinated.