Afghan president to meet with Obama
KABUL, AfghAnIsTAn — President Hamid Karzai said Thursday that he will meet President Barack Obama in Washington next month to discuss a postwar role for the United States in his country.
At a news conference with visiting Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Karzai said he and Obama will discuss how many U.S. troops will remain after the Western combat mission ends in December 2014.
He said he understands that immunity from Afghan laws for those remaining Americans is of “immense importance” to Washington, but he added that he has his own priorities in negotiating a postwar U.S. role.
“Give us a good army, a good air force and a capability to project Afghan interests in the region,” Karzai said, and he would be ready to argue “with ease and with reason” that his country should grant immunity to U.S. troops.
Obama has said the U.S. will not abandon Afghanistan and risk that it might revert to the al-Qaida haven it became in the 1990s after the Taliban came to power.
He has not indicated what size and scope of post-2014 military mission he thinks is necessary and
A Taliban suicide car bomber killed one American soldier and two Afghan civilians Thursday near a U.s. military base shortly after the visiting U.s. defense secretary left the facility in southern Afghanistan, officials said.
The attacker targeted a moving vehicle near the access gate to the military side of Kandahar’s airport, according to Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi.
It was unclear whether the blast had anything to do with U.s. Defense secretary Leon Panetta’s unannounced visit to Kandahar Air field earlier Thursday. The sprawling facility houses more than 20,000 service members from 20 countries and has more than 11,000 civilian contract workers. affordable.
The Taliban are a small but resilient force, even after 11 years of fighting a vastly larger U.S.-led international force.
The Karzai-Obama meeting would be during the week of Jan. 7, Panetta said.