U.S. President Barack Obama has told his Afghan counterpart, Hamid
Karzai, and the Afghan Cabinet they need to do more to fight corruption
and improve their government.
In Kabul Sunday, Mr. Obama said he sees progress in Afghan efforts, but
he wants more. Mr. Karzai pledged his country would move forward and
eventually take over its own security.
Mr. Obama invited Mr. Karzai to visit Washington on May 12.
After a brief visit to Kabul, the president flew to the Bagram military
base north of Kabul where he met with U.S. military officers and troops.
Mr. Obama told a gathering of troops that U.S. lives would be at risk
if the Taliban retake control of the country. He stressed that
difficult days lie ahead in the 8-year-old conflict and there will be
setbacks, but that the U.S. does not quit and will prevail.
Mr. Obama arrived Sunday for his previously unannounced visit to Afghanistan. He leaves early Monday.
During Mr. Obama's first year in office, he has shifted attention from
the war in Iraq, where the United States is reducing its presence, to
Afghanistan, where Mr. Obama recently ordered some 30-thousand
additional troops to deploy.
In the past year, tensions have risen between the Obama and Karzai
administrations after the Afghan leader won a controversial re-election
that was marred by widespread fraud.
Mr. Obama's trip was not announced until he landed at the Bagram
military base north of Kabul Sunday and was flown by helicopter to the
This is his first trip as commander in chief to Afghanistan. He made a similar unannounced trip to Iraq last year.