Carter Meets With Karzai, Military Leaders
By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service
KABUL, Afghanistan, May 13, 2013 Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter met today with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at Afghanistan’s presidential palace here.
Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter meets with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 13, 2013. DOD by Glenn Fawcett
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
In a statement summarizing the meeting, Defense Department officials said Carter congratulated Karzai on the progress of the Afghan national security forces and expressed his admiration for their performance and professionalism. The progress they’ve made, he noted, is enabling them to take the lead in security in more 90 percent of the country.
The deputy secretary also reiterated the strong U.S. partnership with Afghanistan and emphasized the continued U.S. commitment to support the Afghan forces into the future.
Carter also continued his assessment of Afghanistan’s progress toward nationwide Afghan-led security as he met with senior U.S. officials and visited locations in the International Security Assistance Force’s Regional Command East.
Carter met in the morning with State Department, NATO and U.S. military officials, including Army Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, commander of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command and Army Maj. Gen. Tony Thomas, commander of Special Operations Joint Task Force Afghanistan.
Milley joined the deputy secretary as he traveled east of Kabul to Jalalabad Airfield in Nangarhar province and to Forward Operating Base Gamberi in Laghman province. Army Brig. Gen. Ronald F. Lewis, Regional Command East deputy commanding general for support, and other senior leaders from the 101st Airborne Division’s "Bastogne" 1st Brigade Combat Team provided on-the-ground operational and strategic-level reviews of the security transition and retrograde.
Carter thanked service members at both outposts for their efforts, saying that he believes that the transition thus far has been “incredibly successful.” He noted that although al-Qaida is not the sole remaining challenge in Afghanistan, in some circles there is a “great desire to narrow our focus, as if by narrowing our focus, we narrow the problem.”
While at Gamberi, Carter also received an update on the progress of the Afghan National Army from Maj. Gen. Mohammad Zaman Waziri, commander of the ANA’s 201st Corps. The 201st is responsible for the eastern portion of the country, including Kabul.
The deputy secretary is on the third and final leg of a weeklong overseas trip, and his meetings in Afghanistan are intended to underline U.S. support for the ongoing development of the Afghan security forces.