Karzai and Obama agree on military shift in Afghanistan
By Sayed Jawad - Sat Jan 12 2013, 12:02 am
The capabilities of the Afghan army are “exceeding initial expectations,” the two said in a joint statement released after their private White House meeting and working lunch and in advance of a joint news conference.
In their statement the leaders said they discussed the possibility of a continued U.S. troop presence beyond December 2014, when the U.S. and allied combat mission is to end. But they did not settle on any specifics.
The statement, released by the White House ahead of a news conference said any force would support “a capable and effective Afghan National Security Force … that continues to pressure the remnants of al-Qaeda and its affiliates.”
“The scope and nature of any possible post-2014 US presence, legal protections for US forces, and security cooperation between the two countries is to be specified in the Bilateral Security Agreement,” it added.
Karzai, who wants a relatively large residual force in Afghanistan, has also met this week with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. This is his first talk with President Obama since a video conference on Sept. 21.