Karzai spokesman Aimal Faizi says the president will discuss recent border skirmishes with Pakistan when he visits New Delhi starting Monday. He added that Karzai would seek Indian help in “strengthening of our security forces.”
The visit could irk Pakistan, which suspects its rival India of seeking influence in Afghanistan, which Pakistan considers its own backyard.
Hagel told reporters he tried to reassure Karzai that the United States had no unilateral back-channel talks with the Taliban and said Washington is still on track to wind up its 11-year combat mission in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
“The fact is, any prospect for peace or political settlements — that has to be led by the Afghans. That has to come from the Afghan side,” Hagel said. “Obviously, the United States will support efforts if they are led by the Afghans to come to some possible resolution.”
Hagel, a former senator who took the helm at the Pentagon last month, is making his first trip to Afghanistan as defense secretary. Karzai, meanwhile, has been increasingly critical of American forces in recent months. FULL ARTICLE
“This is an important issue that we must discuss with our Afghan counterparts“– US statement
At a press conference in the Afghan capital on Sunday, Aimal Faizi, presidential spokesman, said US special forces were responsible for furthering “insecurity and instability” Maidan Wardak.
“In today’s [weekly] national security council meeting, Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered the ministry of defence to kick out the US special forces from Wardak … within two weeks,” Faizi said.
Faizi said “misconduct” by people linked to the US special forces in Wardak included the beheading of a student and the capture of nine missing locals.
A US statement said it took all allegations of misconduct seriously.
But said the US could not comment specifically on this latest development “until we have had a chance to speak with senior government officials“, the statement by a spokesman for US special forces said.
“This is an important issue that we must discuss with our Afghan counterparts,” the statement said. FULL ARTICLE
President Obama will meet with Afghan PresidentHamid Karzai this Friday to discuss ongoing negotiations over the U.S.’s post-2014 role in Afghanistan, but the White House says not to expect any final decision about how many U.S. troops — if any — will stay in Afghanistan after the war’s official drawdown at the end of next year.
In a conference call this afternoon, the Obama administration’s Ben Rhodes told reporters that “they’re not going to finalize that decision” in this discussion, but rather attempt to “reach a common understanding of how we can achieve” mutual objectives for the post-2014 relationship. Then, he says, negotiators in Washington “will be able to take that guidance and be able to finalize an agreement.”
Among the topics up for discussion include the impending transition for the 2014 drawdown, as well as the plan for U.S. support in Afghanistan beyond that date. According to the White House, any continued U.S. troop presence will be guided by a few key goals: Assuring the continued progress of ongoing counterterrorism efforts and training and equipping the national Afghan security forces, while also guaranteeing full Afghan sovereignty. FULL ARTICLE