Karzai arrives in US, to meet Panetta
Washington: The US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is slated to have intensive consultations with the Afghan President Hamid Karzai on a range of issues concerning Afghanistan's future, in particular the bilateral security agreement that would authorise the number of a residual US force in the war-torn nation past 2014.
Ahead of his meeting with Karzai, Panetta yesterday held a secure video conference with General John Allen, Commander of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, from Kabul.
Karzai arrived in Washington yesterday at the invitation of the US President Barack Obama.
"President Karzai will receive full honors, a full honors welcome on the parade field just outside the river entrance prior to his meetings with Secretary Panetta and Chairman (of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Martin) Dempsey," the Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.
Panetta and Karzai will also visit the 9/11 Memorial to honor and remember the 184 people who lost their lives when Al Qaeda attacked the United States. The next day, Panetta will also participate in meetings with Karzai on Friday at the White House.
"This visit, of course, provides an opportunity to discuss the ongoing transition to Afghan security lead and our enduring commitment to Afghanistan following completion of transition at the end of 2014," he told Pentagon correspondent at a news conference.
Early yesterday morning, Little said, Panetta had a very good discussion this morning on the situation in Afghanistan.