US Vice President Joe Biden arrived on Monday in Afghanistan for an update on the progress in the war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
Biden met with the top US commander, General David Petraeus, and Ambassador Karl Eikenberry shortly after landing. On Tuesday, Biden is to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Biden's visit comes months before President Barack Obama plans to begin withdrawing some of the roughly 100,000 US troops in Afghanistan. The White House has set a timeframe of July for beginning withdrawals that will be "conditions-based", a senior US official told reporters accompanying Biden.
The US and NATO have targeted 2014 as the date to hand lead responsibility for security to the Afghan government. The White House released a report in December saying progress has been made in the year since Obama ordered more than 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, but that there are still severe challenges.