Thursday 23 February 2012,
KABUL: US Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter met with Afghan leadership and reaffirmed the US commitment to training and transitioning Afghan national security forces and a long-term US-Afghan partnership, a Pentagon spokesman said here on Wednesday.
Navy Capt. John Kirby said Carter met with Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, and US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan C. Crocker to receive security updates from throughout the country. They also discussed plans to continue the transition of leadership responsibilities to Afghan national security forces, Kirby said.
In his meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak and members of Afghanistan's parliament, Kirby added, Carter conveyed Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta's "firm commitment to working closely with the Afghan government as our two countries confront common challenges in the region."
Kirby said Carter also discussed regional support for Afghan-led reconciliation efforts to bring former insurgents back into Afghan society, as well as progress made in the growth and development of the Afghan forces and the need to continue to apply pressure to the Taliban insurgency throughout the winter.
Feb. 23, Carter will visit military units in eastern and southern Afghanistan, Kirby said.