President Barack Obama says it is important for the United States to "stay on the offensive" in Afghanistan. Mr. Obama spoke after meeting with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Afghanistan, the world economic crisis and other topics.
President Obama is to reveal his strategy for Afghanistan soon, after a strategic review is completed. As he spoke to reporters in the Oval Office, Mr. Obama did not discuss the contents of the review, but he said he and Prime Minister Rudd agree that Afghanistan cannot be a safe haven for terrorists.
"In order for us to keep our homeland safe, in order to maintain our way of life, in order to ensure order on the international scene, then we cannot allow vicious killers to have their way," Mr. Obama said.
Mr. Rudd has not said whether he will agree to a U.S. request to send more Australian troops to Afghanistan, joining the 1,100 already there. Opinion polls show that a large majority of Australians oppose adding to that number.
The two leaders spent much of their meeting discussing the global financial crisis. Mr. Rudd praised Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's proposal to ease the credit crisis in the United States.
"What you have seen in the United States is decisive action by the administration through the plan further outlined by Secretary Geithner yesterday. This is really important stuff," he said. "It is really fundamental stuff."
Both leaders indicated they would push European leaders for some action on financial reform when they attend the upcoming London summit of the G-20 industrial and emerging nations.
Mr. Obama also endorsed Geithner's request for power to seize financial institutions other than banks when they fail. And he said he will press for greater international cooperation on regulating the financial institutions.
"If the major economies are not coordinating in some fashion, then what you end up having is potential capital fleeing to the places with the least restraint, the least transparency, the least openness," Mr. Obama said.
President Obama and Prime Minister Rudd also discussed climate change, with Mr. Rudd saying "it's great to have America on board" on that issue. The Bush administration had opposed many global initiatives on climate change.