News / USA

Obama, Karzai Agree on Foreign Support Role

US Troops to Hand Over Lead Fighting Role to Afghansi
X
January 12, 2013 1:06 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai said Friday American troops will hand the lead role in fighting the Taliban to Afghan forces in the next few months. The remarks followed a meeting of the two leaders at the White House. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel has details.

Watch related video by VOA's Meredith Buel

— U.S. President Barack Obama and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan have committed to transitioning foreign forces into an advise and support role in the coming months.

The two presidents spent about four hours holding bilateral talks that included Afghan and U.S. delegations, a working lunch and a joint news conference.

Just before they addressed reporters, a joint written statement reaffirmed the Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement signed in 2012, which among other things commits the United States to a presence in Afghanistan until 2024.  

Afghan national security

Afghan national security forces are to assume the operational lead for security later this year. U.S. forces now numbering 66,000 would pull back patrols from Afghan villages and end most unilateral combat operations.

International forces would officially move into a training, advising, and support role. After final NATO and Afghan approval, a final stage of transition would begin.

Obama said their meeting came at a "critical moment" and that while challenges remain, the agreements reached show the transition is on track.

NATO Countries With Most Troops in Afghanistan
(as of July 17, 2012)


United States  90,000
Britain               9,500
Italy                   3,816
France              3,308
Poland              2,457
Turkey              1,327

Afghan security forces on duty
(as of March 2012)     344,108
"But let me say it as plainly as I can: Starting this spring, our troops will have a different mission: training, advising, assisting Afghan forces.  It will be a historic moment, and another step toward full Afghan sovereignty, something I know that President Karzai cares deeply about, as do the Afghan people," said Obama.

Obama will make specific decisions in the coming months regarding U.S. troop levels after 2014, based on recommendations from military commanders. He and Karzai downplayed the importance of troop numbers.

"Numbers are not going to make a difference to the situation in Afghanistan. It is the broader relationship that will make a difference to Afghanistan and beyond in the region," said Karzai.

Remaining issues

Obama said any post-2014 U.S. presence depends on resolving the question of immunity for U.S. forces. Karzai said once the issue is resolved in talks for a bilateral security agreement, he will argue to the Afghan people in favor of immunity.

Obama said both sides remain focused on ensuring that Afghan forces have the capacity to handle security, and on preventing "remnants of al-Qaida or other affiliates" from threatening the United States.

Asked about the huge costs of the war, the president recalled the al-Qaida attacks of September 11, 2001, saying everything U.S. forces have done over 11 years have been aimed at achieving a key objective.

"We achieved our central goal, which is - or have come very close to achieving our central goal - which is to incapacitate al-Qaida, to dismantle them, to make sure that they cannot attack us again," said Obama.

Continuing Taliban deliberations

Both leaders reiterated their commitment to ongoing negotiations with the Taliban, announcing they support the opening of an office in Doha, Qatar, to facilitate the process and involve other regional players, including Pakistan.

Obama said any reconciliation process will be impossible unless the Taliban renounce terrorism and recognize the Afghan Constitution, including its protections for women and minorities.

The two sides also agreed to place Afghan detainees under Afghan sovereignty and control, while the United States pledged to continue assisting the Afghan detention system.

The Afghan leader said his government continues the fight against corruption in his country, with some success. He said "corruption that is foreign in origin" is a problem that needs to be recognized.

Karzai said he looks forward to a well-organized, interference-free election in April 2014, saying he will be a "happily-retired president."

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jerry Frey from: USA
January 11, 2013 7:54 PM
Afghan MPs warn against total pullout of US troops
Disaster and civil war will follow if all US forces leave after 2014, leaders warn, as Obama and Karzai prepare to hold talks


http://napoleonlive.info/what-i-think/common-sense-about-afghanistan/


by: Bearman from: U.S.A.
January 11, 2013 7:39 PM
Large amounts of foreign aid with Karzai's name on the "pay to" line of the check no doubt.


by: babrakkarwand from: hungary
January 11, 2013 12:55 PM
it is the time to appreciate from America government and people to helped us and pushed Taliban from our country , so now extremely a huge percentage of Afghan people like to USA army stay beyond 2014 ,if they leave alone like Russia which leaved us and started fighting between afghans by the support of our neighbors .


by: UsmcJimdaddy E Davis Isst
January 11, 2013 10:15 AM
Eye have to be honest,eye do not trust Karzai or the Taliban.It looks to our intelligence that they are on the same side,against the U.S.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid