Karzai to Begin Crucial US Visit


Afghan President Hamid Karzai is due to begin a four-day US trip Tuesday in which he will meet Obama for crucial talks on the future of the US occupation troops’ presence in Afghanistan.

Friday’s meeting at the White House will come just days after Obama put the finishing touches to his security team, having named his picks to head up the State Department, Pentagon and CIA.

Officials have said a decision could be made during Karzai’s official visit on how many US troops will stay in Afghanistan after 2014. Talks with high-ranking US officials will focus on security, economic and political transition, equipping and strengthening Afghan forces, efforts to negotiate peace with Taliban-led insurgents and a security agreement with the United States, Karzai’s office said.

The Afghan leader, who left Kabul on Monday, is due to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday. He is also expected to kick off his US trip by visiting his wounded spy chief, Asadullah Khalid, at an American hospital on Tuesday.

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