U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai (l-r) sign a strategic partnership agreement at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan
(CBS NEWS) -- President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai have a full
schedule today at the White House, where they will discuss ongoing
negotiations about how rapidly to withdraw remaining U.S. troops in
Afghanistan, and what the United States' role might be in the nation
The day will begin in the Oval Office, which
Mr. Obama will open to Karzai and his delegation for bilateral meetings
to discuss "our continued transition in Afghanistan, and our shared
vision of an enduring partnership in the United States and Afghanistan,"
according to a White House press release. Vice President Joe Biden will
then join an expanded bilateral meeting in the Cabinet Room.
A "working lunch" in the president's private dining room is on tap
for the afternoon, followed by a joint press conference with Mr. Obama
and Karzai in the East Room.
In a conference call with
reporters Tuesday, the White House's deputy national security adviser
Ben Rhodes said the president and Karzai are "not going to finalize that
decision" with regard to how many troops, if any, will remain in
Afghanistan following the war's official drawdown at the end of next
year. Rather, they plan to "reach a common understanding of how we can
achieve" mutual objectives for the post-2014 relationship."
will end his day at Georgetown University, which he will visit for the
third time, delivering a speech on the future of Afghan-U.S. relations
at 5:30 p.m. EDT.
On Thursday, Karzai met with Defense
Secretary Leon Panetta, who said in a Pentagon press conference later in
the day: "We have poured a lot of blood and treasure into this war. We
have made a lot of progress as a result of sacrifice by our people, and
we're not gonna walk backward." Karzai then had meetings at the
Pentagon, followed by a sit-down at the State Department with Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton.
In a dinner that followed,
hosted by Clinton - "a great opportunity for us to attempt, in a very
humble way, to repay some of the hospitality I've enjoyed over the
years," she said during a photo-op before the dinner - the secretary of
state could be heard telling Karzai about President Obama's recent
nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to replace Panetta.