U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has arrived in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where he will meet with military leaders and troops, as the U.S. mulls the scope of its presence in the country after the international combat mission ends in 2014.
Panetta is holding talks, on Thursday, with Major General Robert Abrams, the head of the Regional Command South.
The defense secretary arrived in Afghanistan on Wednesday on a visit that includes talks with President Hamid Karzai.
Before arriving in the country, he told reporters the White House hoped to have a decision soon about the U.S. troop make-up after the withdrawal.
About 68,000 U.S. troops remain in the country. Military officials have called for keeping as many as 15,000 troops in Afghanistan but other U.S. officials have called for a smaller force.