This morning, the President spoke with President Karzai of Afghanistan as a part of their regular consultations. They discussed a range of issues, including the transition of operational lead from coalition to Afghan security forces earlier this month, the importance of Afghan-led reconciliation efforts, preparations for Afghanistan’s 2014 elections, and the negotiation of a Bilateral Security Agreement.
Specifically, the President welcomed the passage on June 18th of milestone 2013, which the two leaders agreed to during their January summit in Washington as the point at which Afghan security forces would take the lead for operations countrywide. The leaders reaffirmed that an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process is the surest way to end violence and ensure lasting stability in Afghanistan and the region, and they reiterated their support for an office in Doha for the purpose of negotiations between the High Peace Council and authorized representatives of the Taliban. President Karzai updated the President regarding preparations for Afghanistan’s 2014 elections, including the status of electoral legislation under review by Afghan leaders. The two Presidents reaffirmed that free, fair, and credible elections would be critical to Afghanistan’s future.