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Panetta Arrives in Kabul to Meet Karzai, Talk of Troops

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta walks off his plane as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham, left, looks on upon his arrival at Kabul International Airport on December 12, 2012. Photographer: Susan Walsh/Pool via Getty Images
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta walks off his plane as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham, left, looks on upon his arrival at Kabul International Airport on December 12, 2012. Photographer: Susan Walsh/Pool via Getty Images

Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived today in Kabul to meet with military commanders as well as Afghan President Hamid Karzai and discuss troop levels beyond 2014.

“I look forward to having a firsthand view, talking to General Allen, and other commanders,” Panetta told reporters on the plane accompanying him to Kabul. “This will help me as we set the groundwork for decisions” to be made by President Barack Obama, Panetta said.

The Obama administration is weighing the number of U.S. troops that will remain in Afghanistan when the bulk of the current 66,000 U.S. and coalition forces depart by the end of 2014.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gopal Ratnam in Kabul at gratnam1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at jwalcott9@bloomberg.net

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