Obama, Karzai sign US-Afghan strategic pact on eve of Osama’s death anniversary - Pakistan Today

Obama, Karzai sign US-Afghan strategic pact on eve of Osama’s death anniversary

US President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday signed a strategic partnership accord that charts the future of US-Afghan relations beyond the end of the NATO combat mission in the country.
Obama, on an unannounced visit to Kabul, acknowledged that there will be difficult days ahead for Afghanistan, but said the Afghan people were taking control of their own future.
“The wages of war have been great for both our nations,” Obama said, adding that he looked forward to a future of peace.
The two leaders shook hands after the signing, which took place in Karzai’s palace in the Afghan capital.
The US president, making only his third trip to Afghanistan since taking over as commander-in-chief in 2009, arrived at 10:20 pm (1750GMT) and was also to address the American people from Bagram airbase at 2330 GMT, an official said.
Obama’s last trip in December 2010 lasted only a few hours when he flew into Bagram air base, outside Kabul, to meet US troops but he did not meet with Karzai.
Ties between Kabul and Washington have strained since last May amid a series of bloody massacres and incidents by US troops against Afghan civilians as a 130,000-strong US-led NATO force fights a fierce Taliban insurgency.
The last of the remaining 87,000 American troops in the country are due to pull out by the end of 2014, some 13 years after a US-led campaign in late 2001 to oust the Taliban Islamic regime accused of harboring bin Laden.
Relations between Pakistan and the United States also plunged over the May 2, 2011 raid that killed bin Laden, tracked down to a compound in the Pakistani military town of Abbottabad after a decade-long global manhunt.
Obama’s top counter-terrorism aide, John Brennan, on Monday argued Al-Qaeda was losing “badly” amid a US drone campaign in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region, and that its core leadership would soon be “no longer relevant.”
The campaign had left the terror groups seriously weakened, and unable to replace wiped-out leaders, he said.
Bin Laden had also been frustrated by the demise of his group, which was behind the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States, and vented his anger in documents seized from his compound by the SEAL commandos.
“He confessed to ‘disaster after disaster’” for Al-Qaeda, Brennan said, noting some of the captured material would be published online this week by the Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy at West Point.



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