KABUL - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Afghanistan on Wednesday on an unannounced visit, at a time when U.S. forces are investigating reports dozens of civilians were killed in U.S. air strikes.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has confirmed that dozens of people, including women and children, were killed in the air strikes, which threaten to overshadow a Washington meeting later on Wednesday between President Hamid Karzai and U.S. President Barack Obama.