President Obama has yet to make a decision about troop levels in Afghanistan going forward, but a big meeting with Hamid Karzai on Wednesday is likely to lead him closer to one. From the CNN Wire Staff:
Meanwhile, the president met with several members of his national security team earlier Monday, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Gates, on his final visit to Afghanistan before stepping down at the end of June, said over the weekend that he believes as many combat forces as possible should remain in Afghanistan for as long as possible.
The President led his monthly meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan with his national security team this morning. During this session, the President received briefings on progress in implementing our strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan following the death of Osama bin Laden.
By video, Secretary Gates briefed the President on his recent trip to Afghanistan. The group also discussed our strategic partnership with Afghanistan and the progress being made to build and sustain the Afghan National Security Forces, and the President’s upcoming videoconference with President Karzai on Wednesday, June 8.
The President also received an update on our efforts to ensure effective cooperation with Pakistan against al Qaeda and other violent extremists.
The following senior officials attended the meeting:
The Vice President
Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State
Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense (via videoconference)
William Daley, Chief of Staff
Ambassador Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Tom Donilon, National Security Advisor
John O. Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism
Denis McDonough, Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor
Thomas Nides, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources
Neal Wolin, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury
Michele Flournoy, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Leon Panetta, Director, Central Intelligence Agency
Michael Morell, Deputy Director, Central Intelligence Agency
Robert Cardillo, Director of National Intelligence for Intelligence Integration
Rajiv Shah, Administrator, Agency for International Development
Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
General James Cartwright, Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan (via videoconference)
Ambassador Cameron Munter, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan (via videoconference)
Ambassador Marc Grossman, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (via videoconference)
General James Mattis, Commander, CENTCOM (via videoconference)
General David Petraeus, Commander of ISAF (via videoconference)
VADM Michael LeFever, Commander, Office of the Defense Representative to Pakistan (via videoconference),
Doug Lute, Special Assistant to the President and Coordinator for Afghanistan and Pakistan
Nicholas Rasmussen, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Counterterrorism
Antony Blinken, Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President