United States President Barack Obama held a situation room meeting with top officials and security advisers over his administration’s goals in Afghanistan and Pakistan this year and ways to meet them.
“The bulk of the meeting was spent discussing our goals for Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2011, goals and objectives and how we’re going to meet those. That was the bulk of what the team went through this morning with the President,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters at his daily news conference.
“The President got an update on the situation on the ground in Afghanistan, both from a counter-terrorism perspective as well as the security situation in Afghanistan,” Mr. Gibbs said, adding that the assessment of the security situation is not much different from those given by Mr. Obama during his AfPak review.
“While we’ve seen progress, we understand that that progress can be reversed if we don’t continue to take the steps to ensure that as we clear, that we hold, that we build, and that ultimately the goal, as enumerated in Lisbon, begin to transfer those security operations back to the Afghan government, the Afghan people, and we see an increase in the training and their security forces,” he added.
Thursday’s meeting was the first AfPak situation room meeting of the year in which the U.S. is scheduled to start the drawdown of its troops from Afghanistan.
Among those who attended the meeting were Vice-President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defence Secretary Robert Gates, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, CIA Chief Leon Panetta, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence.
While Raj Shah, Administrator, USAID; Karl Eikenberry Ambassador to Afghanistan; Cameron Munter, Ambassador to Pakistan; General David Petraeus, Commander, ISAF were among others who attended the meeting through video-conferencing.