Afghan president to visit U.S. in January: Panetta

Afghan president to visit U.S. in January: Panetta
# 13 December 2012 20:20 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Afghan President Hamid Karzai will pay an official visit to the U.S. in January, the visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Afghan President accepted the invitation of President Barack Obama to visit the Washington in January in 2013, Panetta told reporters in a joint press conference with Karzai here.

Karzai said that he and Panetta discussed the security situation, transition of security and the Bilateral Security Agreement which is going to be signed between two countries in the near future at the top of the agenda in the meeting earlier in the day.

Negotiations between the United States and Afghan governments on security agreements formally began in Kabul on Nov. 15.

The Afghan leader added that he will discuss with Obama in Washington about the number of U.S. troops that will stay in Afghanistan after the combat mission ends by the end of 2014.

Panetta also confirmed a bomb attack which occurred near Kandahar Airfield, where he visited prior to the attack has left one U.S. soldier dead and wounding three other U.S. soldiers.

Earlier Thursday, a statement issued by the Kandahar provincial government said that the suicide car bombing which took place at about 5:00 p.m. local time killed two Afghan civilians and wounded 18 other civilians with 14 of them in critical conditions.

The Taliban insurgent group, which has been waging an insurgency since its regime was toppled by a U.S-led invasion in late 2001, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Currently there are about 100,000 NATO-led forces, with 68,000 of them Americans, stationed in the country to stop the Taliban from returning to power.

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