US not to abandon Afghanistan post 2012

US not to abandon Afghanistan post 2012

President Barack Obama, left, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai leave a news conference in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday. AP

Reassuring Karzai that US will not abandon Afghanistan after its proposed troop withdrawal next year, Obama gave the Afghan President an effusive welcome at the White House saying that the two nations shared a common objective of eliminating terrorism.

Obama's conciliatory remarks were apparently aimed at ending months of sniping between Washington and Kabul and Karzai on his part said that frankness would only contribute to strengthening relations between the two countries.
"There are moments when we speak frankly to each other, and that frankness will only contribute to the strength of the relationship," the Afghan President said at the joint White House press conference.

Referring to situation in Afghanistan, Obama said, "The war will get worse, before its gets better", adding that the next few months would see more intensified fighting, in an apparent reference to the upcoming major offensive in the Kandahar province, the birth place of Taliban.

To complaints of Karzai that US and NATO forces air strikes were killing innocents and making enemies of those who might be friends, the US President said "Washington has taken extraordinary measures to avoid civilian deaths in the war."
"I do not want civilians killed," Obama said.

President Barack Obama and Karzai agreed to sign a new US-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Declaration by the end of the year that would replace the existing of that of 2005.

Earlier at a joint White House press availability, with Karzai, Obama said there are going to be tensions in such a complicated, difficult environment and in a situation in which, on the ground, both Afghans and Americans are making enormous sacrifices.
"We've had very frank discussions. And President Karzai agrees with me, that we can't win through a military strategy alone; that we're going to have to make sure that we have effective governance, capacity-building, economic development in order for us to succeed," he said.

"Our job is to be a good friend and to be frank with President Karzai in saying, "Here's where we think we've got to put more effort. Noting that the US-Afghan relationship is real, and not imaginary, Karzai said: "It's based on some very hard and difficult realities. We are in a campaign against terrorism together. There are days that we are happy. There are days that we are not happy. It's a mutual relationship toward a common objective."

Acknowledging that there have been days when the two countries have had a difference of opinion, he said that would continue to remain in the future.
"But the relationship between the two governments and the two nations is strong and well-rooted, and has endured the past 10 years of extreme activity on both sides," he said.

"So I believe what you saw in the past few months is reflective of a deep and strong relationship.

A joint statement issued by the two leaders said, "The strengthened Strategic Partnership Declaration is expected to: reiterate the United States' and Afghanistan's shared vision and commitment to Afghanistan's future; clarify how Afghanistan plans to increasingly take on responsibility for its own security, justice, and development."
The partnership declaration will also articulate how the United States plans to work with Afghanistan to enhance its ability to contribute to regional stability and prosperity.

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