1Gates praises Pakistan 's grip on extremists .
2US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday praised Pakistan 's handling of extremist threats , hailing the army and government 's unpredicted `` success '' and saying they had `` performed admirably . ''
3Gates said the performance of both Pakistan 's military and civilian government over the past 16 months had exceeded Washington 's expectations , in an interview with Al-Jazeera , the Qatar-based satellite news channel .
4`` I think if you look back , 15 or 16 months , the Pakistani government has performed admirably , '' Gates said , according to a transcript .
5`` I believe that the Pakistani government , both the civilian side and the military side , have performed better than almost anyone 's expectations in the region , or in this country , or elsewhere , and we are very impressed by that and we are prepared to be helpful , to help the Pakistanis in any way we can . ''
6Gates cited Pakistan 's `` success '' in the Swat Valley , where two million people fled a punishing military offensive against Taliban insurgents beginning in late April .
7The military says it has now cleared that area of insurgents , and about 1.3 million displaced people have returned .
8But skirmishes continue , raising fears that the Taliban are regrouping in the mountains .
9`` I think people would not have predicted the success of the Pakistani army , '' Gates said .
10`` I think people would not have predicted the success in the Pakistani government 's effective dealing with internally displaced persons as a result of a military operation and how many of them have returned to Swat and how effective the Pakistani government has been in this respect . ''
11He also hailed the government 's ability to forge political consensus to take on extremists .
12`` No one I think would have predicted the political consensus that has emerged in Pakistan in terms of the effort to take on these violent extremists in the North West Frontier Province , in the Fata -LSB- Federally Administered Tribal Areas -RSB- and in that area . ''
13Gates added that he was pleased with the security of Pakistan 's nuclear arsenal , calling the arrangements in place `` sufficient and adequate . ''
14`` I 'm quite comfortable that the security arrangements for the Pakistani nuclear capabilities are sufficient and adequate , '' he said .
15He said that assessment was `` based both on our own understanding of the security arrangements that the Pakistanis have for their weapons and their capabilities , their laboratories and so on .