Obama consults defence team on Afghanistan
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): US President Barack Obama on Tuesday discussed Afghanistan with his top defence leadership, including the ISAF commander, the White House said, hailing the meeting as useful and constructive.
However, no decision was made on the number of US troops in Afghanistan post 2014 at the meeting, during which Obama discussed the ground realities and various options that were recently presented to him by the Pentagon on a post-2014 presence, subject to BSA signing.
Obama was joined by Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry at the meeting with Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen Martin Dempsey and ISAF Commander Gen. Joseph Dunford.
“The President had a useful, constructive meeting with Department of Defense leadership today on Afghanistan,” Laura Lucas Magnuson, spokesperson for the National Security Council at the White House, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
“He (Obama) appreciated the opportunity to hear directly from General Dunford, his commander on the ground, as well as from Secretary Hagel, Chairman Dempsey, Vice Chairman Winnefeld, General Austin and Admiral McRaven,” Magnuson said.
Obama continued to weigh inputs from military officials, as well as the intelligence community, diplomats and development experts and had not yet made any decision regarding the post-2014 US presence, the spokesperson added.
At a news conference, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reiterated the urgency to sign the BSA. “As each day passes and we move further into this calendar year, it becomes more imperative that the Afghan government sign the agreement..."
“When you're making plans for NATO, a dynamic organisation with many members, and around a situation like a military presence halfway around the world, you need time. You need time to prepare and you need to time to plan, so that is why it is so important that the agreement be signed,” he said.
“We are already into February. This agreement was negotiated after a prolonged process, a good-faith process, and endorsed by the Afghan elders and ought to be signed. We can't wait months, as I've been saying. This has to be a matter of weeks,” he said.
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