John Kerry’s Maiden Visit

Southasia - - Briefing -

In his re­cent sur­prise visit to Afghanistan, U.S. Sec­re­tary of State, John Kerry met with Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai and other civic lead­ers. Kerry’s visit brought an end to the re­cent squab­bling over an­tiAmer­i­can com­ments made by Pres­i­dent Karzai when he ac­cused the U.S. of con­spir­ing with Tal­iban in­sur­gents to keep Afghanistan in­sta­ble. Dur­ing a joint press con­fer­ence, Pres­i­dent Karzai said that the me­dia had mis­in­ter­preted his com­ments. Kerry was sat­is­fied with Pres­i­dent Karzai’s ex­pla­na­tion and as­sured that both coun­tries will co­op­er­ate once the U.S. com- bat mis­sion ends in 2014.

Kerry’s visit pre­sented a stark con­trast to U.S. Sec­re­tary of De­fense, Chuck Hagel’s visit to Afghanistan ear­lier in March when the host coun­try can­celled the joint press con­fer­ence with ten­sions es­ca­lat­ing be­tween the U.S. and Afghanistan. This was Kerry’s first visit to Afghanistan since he as­sumed his role as the Sec­re­tary of State in Fe­bru­ary. His ob­jec­tive was to bridge the di­vide be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Kabul and to an­a­lyze the in­ter­nal af­fairs of the wartorn coun­try. Dur­ing his visit, Kerry also met with par­tic­i­pants of the U.S.-backed women’s en­trepreneur­ship pro­gram and heard the con­cerns from busi­ness­women who fear that Afghanistan will bring ad­ver­sity to the coun­try’s women pop­u­la­tion in the post-2014 era.

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