Gates sees "mixed picture" in Afghanistan

FORT WORTH, Texas (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Monday he saw a “mixed picture” in the U.S. war in Afghanistan, but some of the more pessimistic assessments of the situation there were overdrawn.

“It’s a mixed picture in Afghanistan,” Gates told Bloomberg TV during a visit to Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 fighter plant. “There are a lot of challenges, but I think some of the doom and gloom perhaps is somewhat overdrawn as well.”

Gates cited recent elections as a positive factor, despite the controversy over their outcome, although he acknowledged the U.S. casualties were rising. “There’s no question we have a very tough fight in front of us -- a lot of challenges,” he said.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Doina Chiacu