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Obama, Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel in Afghanistan. Unannounced trip

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WASHINGTON--President Obama made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan; with him Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and other top national security aides. Obama is delivering a message to President Karzai that in his second term, "to make him understand that in his second term, there are certain things that have been not paid attention to, almost
since day one."

The Afghanistan government was informed of Obama's visit on Thursday, according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

POOL REPORT
Subject: WH pool - Afghan #2

Pool was briefed on AF1 shortly before landing by NSA James Jones and LTG Doug
Lute, top AfPak official at NSC.

Jones said POTUS would "engage" with Karzai on benchmarks. Please check against
transcript, but some quotes:

POTUS will "engage President Karzai...to make him understand that in his second
term, there are certain things that have been not paid attention to, almost
since day one. That is things like...a merit-based system for appointment of key
government officials, battling corruption, taking the fight to the
narco-traffickers, which fuels, provides a lot of the economic engine for the
insurgents."

He also said they would dicuss the importance of the reintegration and
reconciliation process. More to come.

POOL REPORT 4

Subject: WH pool - Afghan 4

Pool now holding as presidents meet in palace. Before arrival, staff said Karzai
and Potus would meet for a 1 on 1 first. Staff said Potus would be joined by NSA
Jones, Amb. Eichenberry and deputy NSA McDonough.

Following that meeting, session is broadened for 45min meeting with Karzai's
cabinet. In that meeting, US side to include NSA Jones, CoS Rahm, deputy NSA
Donilon, LTG Lute, Amb. Eichenberry, Gen. McChrystal, Deputy Amb. Riccardoni,
deputy NSA McDonough.

4 2010
Subject: WH pool - afghan 5

Pool is holding in room set up for press avail with both presidents. It is an
ornate room with 6 dark gray columns running down the center. A long, shallow
reflecting pool also runs down the center with pink flower petals on the water's
surface.

One one side of columns is press pool, joined by local press. On other side is
most of official delegation, including McChrystal, Lute, Axelrod, Rahm, etc.
They are mingling with Afghan delegation, including Afghan cabinet members, such
as Gen. Wardak, the defense minister.

Table at front of room is set for the presidents. Covered by green cloth and
topped by bouquets of pink and red flowers. Behind table is two chairs abd flags
of US and Afghanistan.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 28, 2010 12:14 PM.

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