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Archive for Monday, February 16, 2009

Afghan officials to have input in review

February 16, 2009

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— President Hamid Karzai and President Barack Obama’s special envoy said Sunday that Afghan officials will take part in a strategic U.S. review of the Afghanistan war, a hint of U.S.-Afghan cooperation in an otherwise awkward joint appearance.

Obama has said turning around the war in Afghanistan is one of his top priorities, but after almost four weeks in office he has yet to speak with the Afghan leader.

Instead, Karzai met with envoy Richard Holbrooke, and the two appeared together to announce the Afghan government’s participation in a U.S. review that will in large part determine how the war is fought. The decision, Holbrooke said, came at Karzai’s request in a letter to Obama.

Karzai acknowledged in an interview Friday that he has yet to speak with Obama, a clear signal from America’s leader of Karzai’s standing, given the fact the U.S. has 33,000 troops in the country and is contemplating sending up to 30,000 more.

That undercurrent hung over the first high-level U.S.-Afghan meeting since the inauguration and was perhaps one reason Karzai’s shoulders appeared heavy and his mood lifeless.

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