Obama briefed on Afghanistan offensive
By Michael D. Shear
Senior U.S. military leaders told President Obama that the offensive in southern Afghanistan is proceeding well, and that a significant number of Taliban forces have left the city in the face of the U.S.-Afghan forces.
"It's clear that a lot of individuals with the Taliban decided they did not want to stay in this stronghold and have left," Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, describing the hour-long meeting Wednesday in the Situation Room.
Gibbs said Obama was briefed about the progress in the Afghan war by ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson, Gen. Stanley McChrystal and ambassador to Afghanistan Karl W. Eikenberry. The officials also briefed Obama about the interrogation of Taliban leader Mullah Baradar, who remains in Pakistani custody.
Gibbs called the capture of Baradar "a significant win" for the U.S. and Afghan forces, but declined to describe the interrogation. He said the arrest reflects the ongoing cooperation between the U.S. and the Pakistani governments.
"One of the updates that the president got today was a discussion about our military cooperation with Pakistan, and the recognition on the Pakistani military side that extremists in their country posed not simply a threat to us, but an existential threat to them," Gibbs said.
Gibbs repeatedly emphasized that the Afghan forces were participating alongside the U.S. military in the Southern operation to a greater degree than ever had before.
Michael D. Shear
February 17, 2010; 4:40 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , National Security
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