Obama: Approach With Afghanistan Is 'Unified'

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President Obama hosted Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the White House Wednesday. It was an opportunity for the two leaders to shore up their relationship, and affirm the strategy for progress in Afghanistan. Karzai wraps up his U.S. visit on Thursday.

LYNN NEARY, host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

President Obama hosted Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the White House yesterday. It was an opportunity for the two leaders to shore up a relationship that's been rocky in recent months. President Karzai travels tomorrow to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where members of the 101st Airborne Division are preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. In a few moments we'll hear their commanders send his soldiers off. First, NPR's Jackie Northam on the meeting between the two presidents.

JACKIE NORTHAM: There was no sense of the hostility that had been brewing for several months between the administrations of President Obama and Karzai when the two men addressed a press conference at the White House. Both leaders spoke of the progress that had been made so far in Afghanistan, but also the multitude of difficult challenges that lie ahead.

It was clear many of the issues that had angered and frustrated both sides had been discussed during the Oval Office meeting. President Obama gave a nod to recent efforts by the Karzai government to curb corruption and hold government officials accountable.

And he reaffirmed a commitment by the U.S. to limit the number of civilians killed by Western troops in Afghanistan. Mr. Obama said his plan to begin withdrawing American troops in July 2011 was on track.

President BARACK OBAMA: I'm confident that we're going to be able to achieve our mission. There are going to be setbacks. There are going to be times where the Afghan government and the U.S. government disagree tactically. But I think our overarching approach is unified.

NORTHAM: Karzai wraps up his four day tour of Washington later today.

Jackie Northam, NPR News, Washington.

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