Obama, Karzai Meet at White House

Posted January 11th, 2013 at 5:00 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai meet Friday at the White House to discuss the future role of the U.S. in Afghanistan, their first meeting since Mr. Obama's re-election.

The two leaders will hold a joint afternoon news conference.

Current plans call for the U.S. to withdraw nearly all of its nearly 70,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

But that plan hinges on a number of conditions, including whether Afghan forces will be able to take over security at that time. It is also unclear what will be the role of the Americans who stay behind, if any do remain.

On Thursday, Mr. Karzai met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Earlier, at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Mr. Karzai that the U.S. and Afghanistan have come a long way towards making sure Afghanistan will never again become a safe haven for terrorism.

Panetta said more than 10 years of the U.S.-led war against the Taliban have paved the way for Afghanistan to stand on its own.

Mr. Karzai expressed appreciation for the years of support from the U.S. and Afghanistan's other allies.

But while Mr. Karzai has often criticized U.S. actions in Afghanistan, he also has spoken about his desire for some U.S. presence to remain.