Obama talks Afghanistan transition with security team

09:53, March 04, 2011      

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U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday convened his national security team for the monthly meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan, discussing the transition process that will see Afghans take over security responsibilities beginning this year.

According to a White House statement, Obama and his team, which includes Vice President Joe Biden, Pentagon Chief Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, reviewed efforts to advance the transition process that was embraced in NATO's Lisbon summit last year.

The transition will see Afghans take over security beginning this year, and U.S. troop reductions will begin in July. The transition will be completed by the end of 2014.

Obama also received an update on regional diplomatic efforts, including the meeting of the International Contact Group on Afghanistan hosted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The President underscored the importance of continued international support for peace and stability in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, specifically support for Afghan-led reconciliation.

Prior to the meeting, Obama spoke with Afghan President Hamid Karzai Wednesday via video teleconference. The two leaders spoke for approximately one hour and discussed the transition, the renewal of U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Declaration, and the beginning of U.S. troop reductions in July.

Both agreed that the United States and Afghanistan should continue to work together to advance a political outcome to the war in Afghanistan.

Obama also expressed regret for the incident in Kunar Province in which nine Afghan civilians were killed by coalition helicopter.

The president conveyed his condolences to the Afghan people and stressed that he and general David Petraeus, U.S. commander in Afghanistan, take such incidents very seriously. The presidents agreed that such incidents undermine efforts in fighting terrorism.

Source: Xinhua

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