Accessibility links

Breaking News

Karzai Ends US Visit With Tribute to Fallen Soldiers

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is concluding his visit to Washington by paying tribute to American soldiers who have lost their lives in the fight against terrorism.

Mr. Karzai on Thursday accompanied U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and top U.S. military commanders - Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, and General Stanley McChrystal - to Arlington National Cemetery, where he visited the graves of those killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Afghan leader walked slowly through the cemetery's Section 60, often called the "saddest acre in America," where veterans killed in World War II, Korea and Vietnam have also been buried.

Some 140 U.S. service members who were killed in Afghanistan are buried in Arlington.

President Karzai, who visited wounded American soldiers on Tuesday, has conveyed gratitude for U.S. support in Afghanistan, including the sacrifices of U.S. troops fighting the Taliban insurgency.

Mr. Karzai is wrapping up a visit aimed at mending strained relations with the United States.

Later on Thursday, the Afghan president will meet with U.S. lawmakers and take part in a question and answer session with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

President Karzai and U.S. President Barack Obama presented a united front during Wednesday's talks at the White House. Mr. Obama said recent tensions were "overstated" and pledged U.S. commitment to a secure and stable Afghanistan.

The U.S. president also vowed to reduce Afghan civilian casualties by coalition forces, a key concern of the Afghan leader.

Before returning to Kabul, President Karzai is expected to stop at Fort Campbell, Kentucky Friday, weeks before the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division deploys to Afghanistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.