Obama calls Karzai; discusses Kandahar operation
US President Barack Obama and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai on Wednesday discussed the stabilisation effort in Afghanistan's restive Kandahar province, the White House said.
"The two leaders focused primarily on plans to stabilize Kandahar City and the close alignment between our two governments there," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said at his daily news conference.
"They received a briefing from senior US and Afghan officials detailing their plans to provide better security, improve governance and increase economic opportunities," he said, adding that they had a productive video teleconference.
Obama and Karzai agreed on the need to make tough decisions on a range of issues, including removing corrupt officials, eliminating sources of corruption and providing the people of Kandahar better access to government services, Gibbs said.
"They both emphasised their plans to monitor progress in Kandahar closely. The two also agreed on the importance of the US-Afghanistan long-term relationship, and plan to discuss the joint effort to negotiate a new strategic partnership declaration during their next conversation," Gibbs said.
"It is important that President Karzai have confidence in the entire team. I think many people enjoy at a number of different levels on that team, enjoy good relationships with President Karzai," he said in response to a question about General Stanley McChrystal, Commander of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
McChrystal was not part of the briefing between the two leaders.
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The Quad Leaders Summit in Tokyo next week will discuss challenges and opportunities across the Indo-Pacific and focus on ways to deliver on the vision of a free, open and inclusive region, foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra said on Saturday.
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