May 11th, 2010
09:22 AM ET

Putting tensions aside, Clinton opens key talks with Karzai

WASHINGTON - Brushing recent public spats aside, the Obama administration welcomed Hamid Karzai to Washington Tuesday, opening a round of partnership talks with the Afghan president.

At a breakfast meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed Karzai for several days of partnership talks. Later Tuesday, Clinton is expected to hold closed-door bilateral talks with Karzai. President Barack Obama will host his Afghan counterpart at the White House on Wednesday. FULL POST

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Filed under: Decision: Afghanistan • Kandahar • Karzai • Obama • White House
May 10th, 2010
03:09 PM ET

Official: Karzai to focus on long-term support during visit

WASHINGTON – A Senior State Department official said the central focus of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's visit this week is for the U.S. and Afghanistan to kick off a dialogue on the bi-lateral relationship between the two countries beyond the presence of U.S. troops and lay a groundwork for a long-term partnership.

"The main thing is to start thinking about getting out of narrow mentality of the next big offensive and looking at the relationship over the long term," the official said. "What do we want our relationship to be about?" FULL POST

April 15th, 2010
08:07 AM ET

Obama: Karzai can be 'strong partner'

"I think that President Karzai is capable of leading his country into the 21st century and stabilizing it," President Obama told Australian TV in a recorded interview from Washington broadcast on Thursday. "But what we have said is that we can't succeed unless President Karzai moves forward on the reforms that are so necessary for Afghans to see a real investment in their lives day-to-day and improvement in their lives day-to-day." FULL POST

Filed under: Karzai • Obama • White House
April 13th, 2010
10:15 AM ET

Official: Al Qaeda short in nukes pursuit

The president's top counterterrorism adviser says there is indisputable evidence that dozens of terrorist groups have sought weapons of mass destruction. But a U.S. intelligence official who is not authorized to speak for attribution said although al Qaeda clearly wants a nuclear weapons capability, it hasn't gotten very far.

"At this point, they don't appear to have made much progress, but we continue to review every bit of information that comes in to determine whether they've advanced their efforts in any way whatsoever," said the official. "Developing a nuclear device involves a highly sophisticated technical process, and al Qaeda doesn't seem to have mastered it based on what we know now."

Read the full story from CNN National Security Producer Pam Benson

April 7th, 2010
05:55 PM ET

U.S., Afghanistan deny Obama-Karzai rift

WASHINGTON — The Afghan and U.S. governments played down their political differences Wednesday, rejecting reports of a major dispute between the Obama administration and President Hamid Karzai.

Supportive statements by the U.S. State Department and Karzai's spokesman followed a week of increasing tension between the governments. On Tuesday, the White House indicated it could call off a scheduled May 12 visit by Karzai to Washington.

The tone was different Wednesday, with State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley calling Karzai an ally in a shared struggle. FULL POST

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Filed under: Karzai • Obama • White House
April 6th, 2010
05:24 PM ET

White House could cancel Karzai visit

Washington - An upcoming U.S. visit by Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai could be called off if he continues to make troubling political statements, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday.

President Obama invited Karzai to visit Washington on May 12, but Gibbs said that subsequent "troubling and untruthful remarks" by the Afghan president have raised questions about the value of such a meeting. FULL POST

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Filed under: Karzai • Obama • White House
April 5th, 2010
03:18 PM ET

Gibbs: White House 'frustrated' by Karzai remarks

 The White House is "frustrated" by remarks from Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who on Sunday promised tribal leaders he would hold back a NATO military offensive in violence-plagued Kandahar province until he had their backing, a White House spokesman said Monday.

"We will not conduct the operations in Kandahar until you say we can," Karzai told about 1,000 tribal leaders at a shura, or conference, at the governor's compound in the southern province.

"The remarks are genuinely troubling," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters in an off-camera session.

 Read the full story or watch the video of the meeting

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Filed under: Karzai • White House
November 24th, 2009
10:05 AM ET

Poll: U.S. split over Afghan troop buildup

Washington (CNN) - If President Obama decides to send 34,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, a new national poll indicates Americans would be split over whether to support such a move.

Half the people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey, released Tuesday, said they would support such a decision, with 49 percent opposed.

But support for a troop buildup of that size is greater than the 45 percent of the public who support the war in Afghanistan. The survey indicates that 52 percent oppose the war.

"The war is unpopular, and previous polls have shown that Americans oppose sending more troops in the abstract," said Keating Holland, CNN's polling director. CNN's Paul Steinhauser talks to polling director Keating Holland about how Americans feel about the war in Afghanistan.

"But it may be a different story when Americans are confronted with an actual decision, by the commander in chief, on a military matter. Previous presidents have seen a 'rally effect' - at least temporarily - when they have made command decisions like this one."

The poll's release comes after Obama met Monday night with his national security team on Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan. It was the ninth meeting of the president's war council to consider whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, which the U.S. commander on the ground there has requested.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that Obama will announce his decision within days.

The CNN/Opinion Research poll was conducted November 13-15, with 1,014 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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Filed under: Decision: Afghanistan • White House
November 12th, 2009
04:33 PM ET

Photo Highlight: Obama meets with war council

President Barack Obama's war council - made up of top Cabinet, Pentagon and administration officials - met with him for the eighth time on Wednesday,  November 11, to discuss a request by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan for up to 40,000 more troops. The meeting lasted more than two hours, according to a senior administration official.

That official told CNN that the president asked for revisions to options he previously received for sending more troops.

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Filed under: Decision: Afghanistan • Obama • Photo Spotlight • White House