Mr. Karzai said he and Mr. Obama had agreed on the complete return of detainees to Afghan control and hailed improvements in the country’s security.
“During our conversations, I thanked the president for the help the U.S. have given to the Afghan people for all that we have gained for the past 10 years,” he said. “And those gains will be kept … as well as the respect for the Afghan Constitution.”
The end of the war, which has spanned more than a decade, is fueling uncertainty in the country about whether the Afghan government can hold off the Taliban after international forces leave and preserve some of the democratic gains it has achieved, including greater rights for women.
Mr. Obama said the Afghan constitution protects the rights of Afghan women, calling that achievement “part of the legacy of the last 10 years.”
“We will continue to voice very strongly support for the Afghan constitution, its protection of minorities, its protection of women. And we think that a failure to provide that protection not only will make reconciliation impossible to achieve, but also would make Afghanistan’s long-term development impossible to achieve.”
Also in question is whether the Afghan government can root out rampant corruption and build credibility with the citizens it serves.
Mr. Karzai blamed some of the corruption on foreign elements and said international leaders need to acknowledge and commit to correct some of the problems with how money is flowing in and out of the country.
He also committed to “happily” retire after next year’s election.
“For me, the greatest of my achievements eventually seen by the Afghan people will be the proper, well-organized, interference-free election in which the Afghan people can elect their next president,” he said.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at email@example.com.
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