Washington: Overall security, good governance and strengthening of Afghan national security forces will top the list of agenda for US President Barack Obama when he meets his Afghanistan`s counterpart Hamid Karzai at the White House next week, a top US official has said.
Observing that the issues the two countries have been working through past several years were fairly well known, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama has got updates on things like elections and governance as part of his Afghanistan and Pakistan meeting on Thursday.
"They (Obama and Karzai) would talk about that. I am sure they would talk about where we are in increasing security, in training and equipping an Afghan national security force, and what needs to be done in the next year to improve all of them," Gibbs told reporters.
At the invitation of US President, Karzai will arrive Washington on his four-day trip on Monday with a large entourage of his Cabinet Ministers.
This would be his first trip to the US after his win in the highly contentious presidential elections last year. Besides meeting with Obama on Wednesday, Karzai is also scheduled to meet the top officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden and several lawmakers, besides appearing joint with Hillary at a Washington-based think-tank on Thursday.
"I think that one of the things that we wanted to underscore, with this visit was the development of our very broad strategic partnership; that the relationship, cooperation that we have with the Afghans extends to many different sectors," Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication, told reporters in a teleconference later in the day.
"We obviously were pursuing very active cooperation with the Afghans as it relates to security operations and the building of the capacity of their security forces.”
"However, we also have made it a point that governance is going to be critical to the future of Afghanistan and to the success of our strategy and the achievement of our shared goals with the Afghan government," Rhodes said.
In achieving the goal of defeating al Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan, Rhodes said "the US believes that it was important to break the momentum of Taliban and to increase Afghanistan`s capacity to provide for its own security and to improve governance for the Afghan people."