Obama Welcomes Cameron

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - 3:27pm

British Prime Minister arrives in D.C.

With pomp and pageantry President Obama welcomed British Prime Minister David Cameron to the White House Thursday.

The two leaders share sobering challenges, perhaps none more pressing than Afghanistan.

"This is a hard slog. This is hard work," President Obama said.

"Recent days have reminded us just how difficult our mission is and how high the cost of this war has been," Cameron added.

As the two leaders spoke U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was on a surprise visit to Afghanistan, where he reminded troops the decade-long war started with 9/11.

"The reason you're here is to make damn sure that never happens again," Panetta told the troops.

There was a security breach as Panetta landed and before meeting with the defense chief soldiers attending were forced to surrender their weapons.

That extraordinary measure underscores the high tensions after the weekend killings of 16 Afghan civilians, allegedly by an American serviceman.

Weeks of violence have the country on edge and the objective in doubt.

Back in Washington the two leaders were in lockstep on a 2013 transition of power and a 2014 pullout.

"We will not give up on this mission because Afghanistan must never again be a safe haven for Al Qaeda to launch attacks against us," Cameron said.

"We're going to complete this mission and we're going to do it responsibly," added President Obama.

The two leaders were also in close agreement on issues ranging from Syria, Iran and rebuilding our battered economies.

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