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Afghan President Heads to Washington for Talks

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, December 12, 2012.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, December 12, 2012.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is on his way to the United States for talks focused on Afghanistan's future after U.S. combat forces complete their withdrawal next year.

Karzai will meet with President Barack Obama at the White House on Friday. He will also hold talks with other high-ranking American officials during his three-day visit.

Talks are expected to focus on security, economic and political transition, equipping and strengthening Afghan forces, efforts to negotiate peace with Taliban-led insurgents, and a bilateral security agreement between Afghanistan and the United States.

U.S. and Afghan officials are determining how many American military personnel will remain in Afghanistan after international combat forces leave the country next year.

About 68,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan. Military officials have called for keeping up to 15,000 troops in the region after 2014 for training and counterterrorism efforts.

Before leaving, Mr. Karzai met in Kabul with a delegation of visiting U.S. senators. His office said the issues discussed during that meeting included the security pact between the two countries and the peace process in Afghanistan.

President Karzai's office says the Afghan leader is scheduled to visit Tuesday with Afghanistan's intelligence agency chief (National Directorate of Security head) Asadullah Khalid, who is undergoing treatment at a U.S. hospital after being wounded by a suicide attack last month in Kabul.
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