US, Afghan presidents to meet in New York next week

Afghan President Hamid Karzai
© AFP/File Shah Marai

AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) –  US President Barack Obama will meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, the White House said Friday.

The encounter, announced by US deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes, will come amid sometimes testy relations between the Obama administration and the Afghan leader and follows a rise of Taliban violence in Kabul.

“This will be the first meeting the two presidents have had since the president laid out his plans for a US transition earlier this year,” said Rhodes.

“They will have the opportunity to discuss how the transition is going,” ahead of a NATO summit that Obama is hosting in Chicago next May, he said.

In a few areas of Afghanistan, NATO troops have began handing responsibility for security to Afghan soldiers, starting a process designed to leave the country free of international combat forces by 2014.

Partial drawdowns are starting this summer, with the 33,000 US “surge” troops leaving by the end of 2012.

There are around 150,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, nearly 100,000 of whom are from the United States, fighting the nearly 10-year-old war.

© AFP — Published at Activist Post with license

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