Obama, Karzai to Talk Afghan Future

Joe Biden isn’t the only one with sensitive discussions Friday. President Obama will meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to discuss what the troop levels will be in Afghanistan after the U.S. removes most of its troops by 2014. White House officials have suggested there could be a complete withdrawal of forces after 2014—similar to the Iraqi withdrawal in 2011—although some have suggested this “zero option” is Obama’s ace in bargaining with Karzai. As relations with Karzai have become more strained, White House aides say the president does not expect any breakthroughs during Friday’s talks—and it could be months before Obama decides how many troops he wants to keep in Afghanistan. Former senator Chuck Hagel, Obama’s nominee to be the next defense secretary, is likely to back large-scale troop reduction.