TALIL, Iraq (AP) - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has arrived in southern Iraq for an unannounced visit.
Gates is getting a firsthand look at what the U.S. military mission in Iraq is supposed to become.
He is going to a U.S. command post in southern Iraq to visit troops who are serving mainly as advisers to Iraqi forces. The advisory unit in Talil is a prototype for U.S. forces as they shift from front-line combat to support roles.
While in Iraq gates is also meeting with political leaders, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Gates is expected to visit Iraq's restive Kurdish region, where challengers made a surprisingly strong showing in regional elections over the weekend.