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USA

Afghan President Karzai in Washington for Fence Mending

Afghan President Hamid Karzai meets with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on May 11. (Photo: US State Department)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and many of his top cabinet ministers are visiting the United States, a trip that both sides hope will ease the strain in bilateral relations.

While Karzai enjoyed a cozy relationship with former president George W. Bush, his ties to Washington have frayed somewhat during the first 500 days of Barack Obama’s administration. On occasion, the administration even has publicly chided Karzai, as when National Security Adviser James L. Jones said in March that Obama wanted to “make him [Karzai] understand that in his second term there are certain things [that] have not been paid attention to almost since day one.” Karzai has not always responded maturely to such pointed barbs. In one instance, the Afghan president poured gasoline on the fire by openly threatening to join the Taliban.

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Joshua Kucera is a Washington, DC,-based freelance writer who specializes in security issues in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East.

Afghan President Karzai in Washington for Fence Mending

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