Fw: Pool report #2 - POTUS/Ghani presser

From: Sahil Kapur [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2015 02:51 PM
To: Allen, Jessica; Velz, Peter
Subject: Pool report #2 - POTUS/Ghani presser

POTUS and Afghan President Ghani began their joint press conference a few minutes late after the U.S. and Afghanistan announced in a joint statement that the U.S. would slow the rate of troop withdrawal from the country.

"Based on President Ghani’s request for flexibility in the U.S. draw down timeline, the U.S. will maintain its current posture of 9,800 troops through the end of 2015.  The specific trajectory of the 2016 U.S. troop drawdown will be established later in 2015 to enable the U.S. troop consolidation to a Kabul-based embassy presence by the end of 2016," the joint statement read.

POTUS began the press conference by saying he had spoken to Chancellor Merkel about the German plane crash that has left 150 feared dead. He then welcomed President Ghani and spoke about the delay in drawing down U.S. troops.

"This flexibility reflects our reinvigorated partnership with Afghanistan," he said. Speaking to Ghani, he said "America will continue to be your partner in advancing the rights of all Afghans, including women and girls."

Ghani said he'd like to pay a tribute to the U.S. troops who have sacrificed for his country, thanking POTUS and Secretary of State John Kerry, who attended the press conference. "I'd also like to thank the American taxpayer."

"We have the capacity to speak truth to terror. They do not speak for Islam. We do," he said.

Q&A to come...

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Sahil Kapur
Senior Congressional Reporter
Talking Points Memo
xxx-xxx-xxxx (cell)
>https://twitter.com/sahilkapur<

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