U.S. President Barack Obama has discussed the war against terrorism and the current situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan with visiting NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the White House here.
“The two leaders discussed progress in implementing our shared strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan and ways to further strengthen the international community’s efforts,” the White House said in a statement.
During the meeting, Mr. Obama thanked Mr. Rasmussen for the significant NATO commitment to promote peace and stability around the world, particularly in Afghanistan where nearly 50,000 non-US ISAF troops, trainers, and civilians are serving alongside Americans.
Mr. Obama and Mr. Rasmussen also discussed goals for the November 19-20 NATO Summit in Lisbon, including unveiling a new NATO Strategic Concept that reinforces the allied commitment to invest in 21st Century capabilities, reforming NATO’s structures to make it more agile and efficient to take on the range of challenges that face allied countries today, the White House said.
Mr. Obama looks forward to further discussing these issues with the secretary general and other allied and ISAF partner leaders at the November Summit, the statement added.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said as part of what the President announced last December at West Point, NATO contributed an increase in forces on the ground in Afghanistan, a contribution that commanders at the time at ISAF believed would play a crucial role in our overall strategy.
“Obviously the problems that we face with -- in Afghanistan and in Pakistan dealing with al-Qaeda and its extremist allies, their potential return, an environment that allows, if they were to return, unfettered planning for an additional terrorist attack -- that’s not something that’s simply in the interest of the United States in preventing. It’s of international concern,” Mr. Gibbs said.
“That’s why there is an international security assistance force there,” he said in response to a question.