News / Asia

US Officials Preview Obama-Karzai Talks

Multimedia

Audio
  • Ira Mellman's interview with Teresita Schaffer, director of South Asia Programs, CSIS

The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan on Monday previewed this week's talks at the White House between President Barack Obama and visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai.  The United States continues to press Mr. Karzai for progress on eliminating corruption and spreading good governance, and that talks scheduled for Wednesday follow a period of tension between the Obama administration and the government in Kabul.

Following President Obama's visit to Afghanistan in March, and for weeks after, whether President Karzai would visit the White House was an open question as the Obama administration reacted to remarks the Afghan leader made that were critical of Western policy.

Although Mr. Karzai sought to repair the damage, discussions he will hold with President Obama, along with consultations with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and meetings Afghan cabinet members accompanying him have, will attempt to set relations on a more positive track.

U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry spoke at a White House press briefing on Monday.

"There will be serious dialogues in the days ahead on far-ranging issues, including how to best deliver on our government's commitment to help accelerate the strengthening of Afghan security and judicial institutions," said Ambassador Eikenberry.

Among major issues to be discussed during Mr. Karzai's four day visit are questions surrounding the reconciliation with and reintegration of the Taliban, and ongoing U.S. and NATO efforts to build a capable Afghan army and police force.

Under a schedule established by President Obama, U.S. forces are to begin withdrawing from Afghanistan in July of next year.  But U.S. officials stress that there are no deadlines for a final pull out, and that the process will be driven by assessments of events on the ground.

Saying that much work lies ahead, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army General McChrystal, called the development of Afghanistan's army and police a strategic priority.  Referring to ongoing joint operations to secure the southern part of the country, especially the city of Kandahar, he said the road ahead will not be easy.

"This is a process that takes time," said General McChrystal. "It will demand courage and resilience.  We will encounter increased violence as our combined security forces expand into Taliban-controlled areas.  Increasingly the momentum will shift to the Afghan forces.  Over time, security responsibilities will transition to Afghans."

Asked whether he was less skeptical now about the situation in Afghanistan based on action President Karzai has taken or promises he has kept, Ambassador Eikenberry used the term "cautious optimism" to describe the progress being made in several areas.

Eikenberry sidestepped a question about whether his concerns regarding President Karzai have been allayed.

"President Karzai is the elected president of Afghanistan," he said. "Afghanistan is a close friend and ally.   And, of course, I highly respect President Karzai in that capacity."

Amid a series of questions about President Obama's assessment of the Afghan cooperation, White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs cited a "partnership" with the Karzai government.

"There are steps that we have to take both on security and the civilian side," said Robert Gibbs. "We will laud the steps that they take and the steps that need to be taken in order to improve, either on the security side or on the government side.  We will work with them to make sure they happen."

On Tuesday, President Karzai is scheduled to hold a series of meetings at the State Department and deliver joint remarks with Secretary of State Clinton.

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are set to meet with Mr. Karzai on Wednesday, and the two presidents are expected to hold a joint news conference.  President Karzai and other delegation officials will meet with members of Congress.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More