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

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess 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.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs