U.S. reaffirms commitment on Afghanistan's security, reconstruction

08:16, May 12, 2010      

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) and visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai meet journalists before their bilateral meeting at the State Department in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, May 11, 2010. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday reaffirmed her country's commitment to Afghanistan's security and reconstruction, saying the United States would not "abandon" the Afghan people.

"Let me be clear. As we look toward a responsible, orderly transition in the international combat mission in Afghanistan, we will not abandon the Afghan people," Clinton told a U.S.-Afghanistan bilateral discussion.

"Our civilian commitment will remain long into the future," said Clinton before Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and senior diplomatic, defense, military and intelligence officials from both sides.

Karzai labeled the bilateral discussion as a sign of "mature and steady" relationship, adding that Afghanistan would continue building institutions to preserve progress and to walk towards the future with steady, strong steps.

Karzai, who is paying a four-day visit to the United States, is scheduled to meet President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday.

Senior administration officials described Karzai's visit as an opportunity to evaluate the broad strategic partnership between the two countries with a focus on shared security, governance and development.

After months of review, the Obama administration renewed its strategy for Afghanistan last December by sending 30,000 additional troops to the country in a decisive war against al-Qaida network and extremists.

The U.S. army forces stationed in Afghanistan would surge to about 100,000 troops.

Obama also urged the Karzai-led government to combat corruption and take good governance in order that a transfer of responsibility could be promoted and that the United States could begin to withdraw its troops from July 2011.



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