News / USA

Obama, Karzai Discuss Tensions, Affirm Partnership

Multimedia

Audio

After talks at the White House on Wednesday, President Barack Obama and Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai said they are committed to a long-term strategic partnership.

Listen to Ira Mellman's interview with Nazif Sharani, a professor of Central Asian and Middle East Studies at Indiana University:

This week's visit by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a large group of Cabinet ministers has been aimed at trying to move beyond policy and strategy differences that could weaken joint counter-terrorism efforts.

Referring to what he called "perceived" tensions, President Barack Obama said some of these tensions were over-stated, adding that both sides are committed to the goal of a secure and stable Afghanistan.

"There are going to be setbacks; there are going to be times where our governments disagree on a particular tactic," he said. "But what I am very confident about is that we share a broad strategy, one that I hope we can memorialize in a declaration by the end of this year."

Although there was no direct mention of corruption in Afghanistan - a key concern of the United States and allies - President Karzai recognized what he called "issues of concern and shortcomings" in his country.  Talks with President Obama, he said, resulted in strengthening a relationship that has endured.

"The bottom line is that we are much more strongly related to each other today than we ever were before in this relationship," said the Afghan president. "And that is a good message that I will take back to the Afghan people the day after tomorrow."

Reporters posed questions to the two leaders about the role of Pakistan, and the link between Pakistan-based Taliban and other groups and instability in Afghanistan.

President Obama said he is encouraged by what he has seen in terms cooperation from Pakistan's government, but
"It is going to take some time for Pakistan, even where there is a will, to find a way in order to effectively deal with these extremists in areas that are fairly loosely governed from Islamabad," he added.

The Mr. Obama said the security of Afghanistan and Pakistan are interrelated, adding that Afghanistan's sovereignty, territorial integrity, Constitution and people must be respected by its neighbors.

Civilian casualties

On the sensitive issue of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, both leaders said this was discussed at length, with President Karzai pointing to "considerable progress."   

Saying that an overwhelming majority of civilian casualties are a consequence of terrorist acts by the Taliban, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to reducing such incidents.

"We have an interest in reducing civilian casualties, not because it is a problem for President Karzai, [but because] we have an interest in reducing civilian casualties because I do not want civilians killed," he said.

President Obama said he remains confident that the United States will be able to begin drawing down its armed forces in Afghanistan in July of next year.  But he emphasized that the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan will not be finished.

Saying that the capabilities of Afghanistan's army and police are "progressing steadily," President Karzai offered this prediction of how much territory Afghan forces will be able to secure.

"We plan to be conducting, providing security for our country in major parts of the country where we have the ability within the next two years," he said. "By the time my term of office completes in four years, four-and-a-half years from today, Afghanistan [will be] working hard to provide security for the whole of the country."

Reintegration of Taliban

On the question of steps underway to reintegrate Taliban, President Karzai pointed to what he called thousands of Taliban who he described as not being part of al-Qaida or other terrorist networks and who wish to return, if given the opportunity and political means.

President Obama said the United States supports efforts to open the door to Taliban who cut ties with al-Qaida, abandon violence and accept the Afghan Constitution, including respect for human rights.

At the same time, President Obama predicted there will be "hard fighting" during the next several months as U.S. forces begin a new push into Taliban areas.  But he said Afghan forces are becoming more battle ready and toughened, so they can take the lead in security operations.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid