Afghan President Hamid Karzai joined the commander of US forces in a meeting with tribal leaders on Sunday in the volatile south, amid tensions over Karzai's recent scathing accusations of foreign interference in last year's elections.
Karzai and Gen Stanley McChrystal flew together to the southern city of Kandahar, deep in the heartland of the Taliban insurgency, and were to meet with scores of tribal elders as part of efforts to build political support ahead of an expected US and NATO push into the area.
Most of the 30,000 new troops promised by President Barack Obama will be headed to Kandahar city and the surrounding province.
Security was extremely tight as Karzai and McChrystal flew into the city centre in a US military helicopter for the tribal conference, known as a shura, at the governor's compound.
Also present at the meetings was the president's younger brother, a key source of support in the south, despite having been publicly accused of being a major drug lord, part of the corruption and cronyism that undermines support for the government and drives Afghans to the Taliban.