South Asia News
US reaffirms long-term commitment to Afghanistan
May 11, 2010, 15:31 GMT
Washington - The US commitment to Afghanistan will continue long past the departure of US troops from the country, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday as she kicked off days of meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Clinton acknowledged that decades of neglect toward Afghanistan resulted in the instability that allowed al-Qaeda to gain a safe haven and carry out the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
'President (Barack) Obama has made it clear that we will not allow that kind of detachment and oversight again,' Clinton said, adding the Washington has substantially increased aide to the war- torn nation.
'This commitment, Mr president, will endure long after US combat troops have left, because we have learned the lessons of the past,' Clinton told Karzai.
Karzai arrived in Washington for days of meetings with US officials on a broad range of talks that include security, economic development and improving the effectiveness of the government in Kabul.
Karzai, accompanied by much of his cabinet, will have meetings at the State Department, Pentagon, and with Obama on Wednesday. Clinton hosted Karzai for a dinner Monday night and the Afghan leader will have lunch with Obama.
The Obama administration and Karzai's government are trying to repair relations after weeks of tension that began after Obama March visit to Kabul, where he urged Karzai to do more to combat corruption.
US and Afghan officials have sought to play down the disputes, saying they are focused on moving forward in a relationship that, like any other, will include occasional disagreements.
'We'll be having disagreements on issues from time to time,' Karzai said. 'But that is the sign of a matured relationship and the sign of a steady relationship.'