President Obama sat down yesterday with his top national-security and intelligence minds to take stock of the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, DNI James Clapper, VP Joe Biden and commander of forces in Afghanistan General David Petraeus all took part in the regular review (Biden and Petraeus by video link). The meeting came as tensions continue to ratchet up between Washington and Islamabad, with the US criticizing Pakistan’s intelligence services for links to insurgents and Pakistan rejecting the assertions.
General Petraeus was actually in Pakistan yesterday to meet with the army chief there, General Ashfaq Kayani. The US embassy in Islamabad released a general statement about the sitdown that said the pair “discussed topics of mutual interest and ways to improve regional security.”
Elsewhere in the world, Chinese and US officials are planning for a May economic meeting. The relationship between Beijing and Washington has been rocky of late as the US debt piles up and criticisms of China’s currency policy continue to fly. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with China’s Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo.