President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai agreed that the United States and Afghanistan should continue to work together to advance a political outcome to the war in Afghanistan, and Obama reaffirmed his support for an Afghan-led political process, the White House announced on Thursday night.
The two spoke for approximately one hour during a video teleconference on Wednesday and discussed the beginning of transition to Afghan security lead, the renewal of the U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Declaration, and the beginning of U.S. troop reductions in July, the announcement said.
They agreed on the importance of resolving the issues facing Kabul Bank, the statement said.
Obama expressed his “deep regret for the tragic accident in Kunar Province in which nine Afghans were killed,” the statement said. “The President conveyed his condolences to the Afghan people and stressed that he and General (David) Petraeus take such incidents very seriously.” The presidents agreed that such incidents “undermine our shared efforts in fighting terrorism,” it added.
Obama met with his national security team on Thursday for his regular monthly meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Obama received an update on “our regional diplomatic efforts, including the successful meeting of the International Contact Group on Afghanistan hosted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia,” the White House said.
The President underscored the importance of continued international support for peace and stability in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, specifically support for Afghan-led reconciliation, the announcement said.
Obama received an update on the security situation on the ground, “including our efforts to prevent civilian casualties and sustain the gains that have been made over the last several months,” it said.
Finally, the President and his team reviewed efforts to advance the transition process that was embraced in Lisbon, with the transition to Afghan lead beginning this year, U.S. troop reductions beginning in July, and the transition to Afghan lead being completed by the end of 2014, the announcement said.