Panetta Assessing Afghan Situation Ahead of Obama Decision

News - Afghanistan


US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday said he was in Afghanistan to see the situation on the ground and advise US President Obama on the ongoing presence of US troops in the country after 2014.

"I came here to first see you and your leaders and to see the situation on the ground. I talked to the Afghan leaders and have tried to tee-up the decision of President Obama which he made with regards to the future," Panetta told the American troops.

In a meeting his Afghan Defense Minister Bismillah Mohammadi, Panetta discussed the security situation in the country and rise of the capability of the Afghan forces after 2014.

According to reports, Bismillah has asked his US counterpart to equip the Afghan forces with more heavy weaponry and also support the buildup of the Afghan Air Force.

Panetta arrived in Afghanistan on Tuesday afternoon as talks between Afghan and US officials are ongoing over an Afghan-US security pact.

According to unconfirmed reports from Pentagon officials, between 6,000 and 10,000 US troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014.

Panetta and Karzai met Thursday in Kabul and will hold a joint press conference in Kabul Thursday night at 8pm.

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