U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has met visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai to hold discussions over a host of issues including the progress on bilateral security agreement and presence of US forces in the country after 2014.
During a one-on-one meeting at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department, the two leaders also discussed upon economic sustainability of Afghanistan after the withdrawal of U.S.-led international troops.
“This is a great opportunity for us to attempt in a very humble way to repay some of the hospitality I have enjoyed over the years,” Ms. Clinton was seen saying during a brief photo-opportunity at the top of a working dinner.
There was, however, no official briefing after the meeting.
Earlier in the day, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, giving a preview of the meeting, told reporters that a full range of issues were going to be discussed.
“Obviously, aspects of security transition, the elections in 2014 and preparations for them, the economic transition, regional integration and support for the Afghan reconciliation efforts, those will all be central themes in the discussions this evening,” she had said.
“With regard to where we are precisely on reconciliation, I think we are looking forward to hearing from President Karzai how he sees things. As you know, we have had some modest steps forward in recent months, including a commitment by Pakistan to support Afghan reconciliation,” she said.
“Some of the work we’ve been doing in the core group US-Afghanistan-Pakistan to pave the way and ease the conditions for those Taliban who might need safe passage to go have conversations,” she said.
“As we discussed here, we also had some track-2 discussions, Afghans and Taliban in Paris about a month and a half ago that could potentially be built on,” Ms. Nuland said.
She said the U.S. was keen to know Mr. Karzai’s views over the next possible steps towards bringing back normalcy in Afghanistan.
Mr. Karzai is now slated to meet President Barack Obama.