Jan. 10 - U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told visiting Afghan President Hamid Karazi the U.S. and Afghanistan had reached the ''last chapter'' in an effort to establish a sovereign Afghanistan. Sarah Irwin reports.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrives at the Pentagon - for meetings on what U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called was the "last chapter" of the war in Afghanistan. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY LEON PANETTA SAYING: "After a long and difficult path, we finally are, I believe, at the last chapter of establishing an Afghanistan, a sovereign Afghanistan, that can govern and secure itself for the future." The White House has been considering maintaining a force of between 3,000 to 9,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan But on Tuesday - the White House said it had not ruled out the so-called "zero option" - to pull all troops from the country after 2014. On Wednesday, Afghan lawmakers said that civil war could follow if Washington went along with this plan. A day later, Karzai remained confident his government could secure the country. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFGHAN PRESIDENT HAMID KARZAI SAYING: "I can assure you Mr. Secretary that Afghanistan will, with the help that you will provide, be able to provide security to its people and to protect its borders so Afghanistan will not ever again be threatened by terrorists from across our borders." Karzai will meet President Barack Obama on Friday - where the debate over troops in Afghanistan is expected to dominate the talks.