Obama, Karzai Discuss US Role in Afghanistan

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WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai Friday to discuss America's future military role in Afghanistan.

Currently, there are about 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. This spring, the president said their mission will change to one of support - that is training and advising Afghan forces who will take full responsibility for the security in their country.

The U.S. military will also reserve the right to combat terrorism through special missions.

Karzai has been in Washington for several days, meeting with the president and key members of his team.

One of the outstanding issues that remains between the countries is immunity for American troops who remain in Afghanistan after 2014.

President Obama said all of America's security agreements with other countries include immunity for U.S. troops.

"But I think it's fair to say that from my perspective, at least, it will not be possible to have any kind of U.S. troop presence post-2014 without assurances that our men and women that are operating there are not in some way subject to the jurisdiction of another country," Obama said.

President Karzai said of equal importance to his people is ending the war, the sovereignty of their country, and the return of detention facilities to Afghan control.

Now that those issues are, in many ways, resolved, Karzai indicated he can argue for immunity.

"I can go to the Afghan people and argue for immunity for U.S. troops in a way that Afghan sovereignty will not be compromised, in a way that Afghan law will not be compromised, in a way that the provisions that we arrive at will give the United States the satisfaction of what it seeks and will also provide the Afghan people the benefits that they are seeking to this partnership," he said.

Exactly how many American troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014? President Obama said he's still working that out with the Pentagon and his commanders on the ground.

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