New U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is holding talks in Kuwait with top U.S. commanders and diplomats on U.S. efforts to fight the Islamic State group.
Carter flew to Kuwait City from Afghanistan to chair the meeting at the U.S. Army base of Camp Arifjan. In addition to military officers, U.S. ambassadors from Jordan and elsewhere in the Middle East are participating in the talks.
The Pentagon said the secretary thanked Kuwait's emir and military chief, Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and Defense Minister Khalid al-Jarrah al-Sabah in person for the country's contribution to anti-terrorism efforts.
Kuwait hosts U.S. and coalition military forces as they conduct daily air raids on militant targets in Iraq and Syria.
Officials say the meeting is not expected to produce a new strategy to fight the Islamic State, but to allow Carter to better understand the range of efforts being pursued to defeat the militant group.
Speaking to troops at Camp Arifjan before the summit began, Carter said the mission will require patience, commitment and building up local forces.
”If we are to have a defeat of [the Islamic State group] ... it needs to be a lasting defeat," he told the soldiers.
On Sunday, Carter visited southern Afghanistan to review plans to withdraw U.S. troops from the country within two years. He met with U.S. soldiers at the American base in Kandahar and received briefings on the status of coalition efforts to train, advise and assist Afghan forces.
"We want to make sure that the Afghans themselves are able to preserve the environment which our forces have created over the last few years, one of relative security and stability," he said.
Carter also spoke on the phone with British Defense Minister Michael Fallon.
A Pentagon statement said Carter thanked Fallon for his leadership and Britain's contributions to global security efforts, including the mission in Afghanistan and the campaign against the Islamic State.
The two men also discussed the security situation in Ukraine, NATO revitalization efforts and the importance of innovation in developing modern military capabilities.
Carter, who is on his first trip abroad, flew to Kandahar from Kabul, where he met with Afghan leaders and American military commanders.