Afghan President describes US visit as successful

Afghan Prez Hamid Karzai described his recent visit to the United States as very successful.

Updated: May 18, 2010, 19:59 PM IST

Kabul: Afghan President Hamid Karzai Tuesday described his recent visit to the United States as very successful.

Relations between United States and Afghanistan had strengthened after his trip last week, Karzai told a press conference.

There was progress on the issues of detentions, house searches and night raids by foreign military forces, he said.

"Beginning next year, all the detention centres held by foreign forces will be transferred to Afghan authorities," the president said.

In response to US concerns at the under-representation of women at the upcoming peace jirga, Karzai said "it has been now decided to have 20-per-cent women participation".

"The peace jirga now has the support of United States and its people," he added.

At the so-called peace jirga, a three-day assembly of tribal elders beginning May 29, Karzai wants to get the backing of the population for his policy of reconciliation with the Taliban.

Karzai said that many of the doubts about the Afghan government`s reconciliation policy were cleared up during his visit.

He emphasised the importance of neighbouring countries, particularly Pakistan, in the reconciliation efforts with the Taliban leadership.

During his four-day visit to the US Karzai met with US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He led a high-level delegation of about a dozen ministers.