- Associated Press - Thursday, September 2, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Afghanistan’s capital Thursday for meetings with President Hamid Karzai and top NATO commander Gen. David Petraeus.

The Pentagon chief also plans to visit U.S. troops.

Mr. Gates flew Thursday morning to Kabul from Baghdad, where he participated in ceremonies marking the formal close of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq.

The end of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan is still far away. Two American troops died in fighting in Afghanistan on Thursday, while NATO and local officials said coalition and Afghan forces had killed at least 37 insurgents in a series of ground and air engagements.