Karzai and Kerry meeting over U.S. troops’ future in Afghanistan

John Kerry the U.S. Secretary of State arrived on Monday in Kabul to meet with Hamid Karzai the Afghan president to discuss the conditions for any troops from the U.S. that remain in Afghanistan beyond the pull out date of 2014. The two will also discuss the possibility of peace talks with Taliban leaders and the economic and security transition.

The visit by Kerry, his first since taking the position as the top diplomat in the U.S., had not been announced beforehand for security. His trip comes following a number of disputes between the U.S. and Afghanistan over detainees’ transfers from U.S. custody to Afghan custody, the expelling of U.S. special forces and a recent accusation by Karzai that U.S. authorities were colluding with members of the Taliban to increase violence in Afghanistan.

Over the past four years, Kerry has met on five occasions with Karzai and the two have a pleasant relationship, said officials from the U.S. that spoke to reporters traveling with the Secretary of State. Officials said that Kerry is not there to lecture Karzai but rather wants to hold an open and frank discussion with the Afghan head of state.

Officials from both countries are attempting to redefine their relationship ahead of the withdrawal of combat troops before the end of 2014. It has not yet been announced by President Obama as to how many troops might stay in Afghanistan following the pull out date. The U.S. and Afghanistan are currently in talks about the status of those troops that remain.

Afghanistan and U.S. officials agreed over the weekend that Parwan detention facility prisoners would be turned over to officials from Afghanistan on Monday. This should eliminate a discord between the two nations if the accord holds and if Afghan officials do not release prisoners the U.S. said have participated in acts of terrorism.

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