Karzai refuses to meet Obama in Afghanistan visit

Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai refused a request to meet Barack Obama at a U.S. airbase rather than the presidential palace.

Karzai refuses to meet Obama in Afghanistan visit

World Bulletin / News Desk

Afghan President Hamid Karzai refused to meet his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama during his secret trip to Afghanistan on Sunday, and strained relations could explain why.

Obama visited U.S. troops at Bagram Air Base, near Afghan capital Kabul, but did not visit Karzai. The Afghan president had denied a request to meet at the airbase, according to a statement from the Afghan presidential palace.

“The government of Afghanistan is ready to warmly welcome the US president according to Afghan manner in the presidential palace, but he does not intend to go to Bagram to meet president Obama,” the statement read.

Kabul-based political analyst Mohammad Hassan Haqyar pointed at disagreements over future security arrangements for Afghanistan as the reason for Karzai's refusal.

“Actually Afghanistan and U.S. got very cold and strained relations recently because of the arguments over the bilateral security agreement between the two countries,” he said. “That is why the Americans made this strange request for meeting Karzai in Bagram, and Karzai has done the right thing to deny it.”

Karzai is not willing to sign a proposed bilateral security agreement that will allow for a long-term U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. The outgoing president said his successor, who will be decided in the second round of presidential elections in June, can make the deal.

“It happens nowhere in the world, that a country’s leader would go to a country and the leader of that country would not know about the trip,” said Haqyar. “If the Americans makes an excuse of Kabul not being safe for Obama’s trip, then the question is why the huge presence of U.S. and NATO forces in the country were not able to make it safer?”

In his speech at Bagram Air Base on Sunday, Obama renewed his commitment to scaling down the number US and NATO troops after the withdrawal of combat forces at the end of 2014.

“After more than a decade of war we are at a pivotal moment,” Obama said. “By the end of this year, the transition will be complete and Afghanistan will take full responsibility for their security.”

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Mayıs 2014, 12:17