New faces at today’s White House Af-Pak meeting
President Barack Obama held his monthly White House meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan on Wednesday morning with a new roster of officials in attendance. Past White House Af-Pak meetings have included a wide range of national security officials, but with both U.S.-Afghanistan and U.S.-Pakistan relations at a low point, today’s group was expanded to include ...
President Barack Obama held his monthly White House meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan on Wednesday morning with a new roster of officials in attendance.
Past White House Af-Pak meetings have included a wide range of national security officials, but with both U.S.-Afghanistan and U.S.-Pakistan relations at a low point, today’s group was expanded to include top officials from the Justice Department, the Treasury Department, and several new members of the administration.
Attorney General Eric Holder and attended the meeting for the first time. Other officials who are new additions to the roster include new White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, the new special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman, the new deputy secretary of State, Thomas Nides, head of the Office of the Defense Representative in Islamabad (via video conference), Vice Adm. Michael LeFever, and Deputy Ambassador to Afghanistan Tony Wayne (via video conference).
Returning officials in the room included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, counterterrorism advisor John Brennan, Deputy NSA Denis McDonough, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy, CIA Director Leon Panetta, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen, Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman James Cartwright, Afghanistan Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, Pakistan Ambassador Cameron Munter (via video conference), Deputy NSA Tony Blinken, CENTCOM Commander Gen. James Mattis, Commander, ISAF Commander Gen. David Petraeus, (via video conference), and NSC Coordinator for Af-Pak Doug Lute, and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin.
Munter and LeFever have been intensely involved in the diplomatic crisis caused by the arrest in Lahore of CIA contractor Raymond Davis, which has stalled U.S.-Pakistani strategic cooperation. The Pakistani courts rejected Davis’ claim on immunity Wednesday. Petraeus, Wayne, and many others have been dealing with the fallout of the accidental killing of 9 Afghan boys in Afghanistan’s Pech Valley by U.S. forces Tuesday.
"We are deeply sorry for this tragedy and apologize to the members of the Afghan government, the people of Afghanistan and, most importantly, the surviving family members of those killed by our actions. These deaths should have never happened," Petraeus said on Wednesday.
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin
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