The meetings will focus on the war in Afghanistan and the conflict in Syria Press Secretary George E. Little told reporters.
Panetta will first speak with Barak regarding concerns related to Syria’s stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.
Panetta will then host Karzai on January 10 and discuss broad issues related to Afghanistan’s future and the ongoing transition at the end of 2013.
“It’s not just about troop numbers in Afghanistan, it’s also about a bilateral security agreement, progress on the peace process and a range of other issues and we think there will be a very productive discussion,” Little said.
Karzai will also meet with President Obama at the White House on Jan. 11.
The announcement of the visits by the two Middle East leaders come as Panetta prepares to transition out of his role as defense secretary, and a day after Obama nominated former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel to replace him.