Hamid Karzai
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Obama Hails 'Important Step' in Afghan Security Transition

U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed the Kabul government's move Sunday to have local forces take control of security in a large new slice of the country as an "important step forward."

In the third phase of a five-tranche military transition process to bring NATO closer to getting out of the Afghan war, 122 more districts throughout Afghanistan will come under local command, putting Afghan forces in control of security for 75 percent of the population.

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Obama, NATO Chief Agree Afghan Focus for Summit

U.S. President Barack Obama met with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Wednesday ahead of the upcoming NATO summit to agree to focus on the Afghan conflict at the meeting, the White House said.

At an Oval Office meeting, Obama and Rasmussem agreed the summit would be a time "reaffirm allied commitment to the transition framework" and a move from a combat role to support for "sufficient and sustainable Afghan forces."

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Washington Post: U.S. Released 'High-level' Afghan Insurgents

The United States has for years been freeing "high-level" detainees from a military prison in Afghanistan under a deal with insurgent groups aimed at heading off violence, The Washington Post reported.

The newspaper, citing U.S. officials on condition of anonymity, said the program was inherently risky but prisoners released under it must promise to give up violence and if they don't, they would be detained again.

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Obama in Afghanistan: 'Time of war' is Ending

U.S. President Barack Obama said Wednesday a "time of war" was ending in a moment of American renewal, after slipping covertly into Afghanistan on the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death.

In a highly political election-year address from outside Kabul, Obama posed as a commander-in-chief who ended two long wars and crushed al-Qaida, and tried to conjure up a new dawn for a nation exhausted by conflict and recession.

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Obama in Surprise Afghanistan Trip

U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Afghanistan late Tuesday on a surprise visit a year after American elite Navy SEALs killed al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden in a raid deep inside Pakistan.

Obama was expected to sign a strategic partnership on future U.S.-Afghan ties once American troops have pulled out of Afghanistan in 2014 with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, White House officials told an Agence France Presse photographer.

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Karzai Calls for 'Accelerated' Transition after Corpses Scandal

Afghan President Hamid Karzai called Thursday for an "accelerated" transition of security responsibilities from NATO forces in the wake of a scandal over U.S. troops abusing Afghan corpses.

"The only way to put an end to such painful experiences is through an accelerated and full transition of security responsibilities to Afghan forces," his office said in a statement.

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U.N. Condemns Afghan Attacks as Karzai Blames Intelligence Failure

The U.N. Security Council on Monday condemned "in the strongest terms" a coordinated insurgent assault on Kabul that marked the biggest militant attack on the city in a decade of war.

"The members of the Security Council underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice," the 15-member council said in a statement.

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PM: Australia to Withdraw Troops from Afghanistan Early

Australia said Tuesday it will bring its troops home from Afghanistan a year earlier than planned with most soldiers withdrawn in 2013 after significant security gains over the past 18 months.

Canberra, a key coalition ally of the United States, has repeatedly said it intends to remain in the war-wracked nation until 2014 but Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Afghans would now be ready to take responsibility earlier.

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U.S., Afghanistan in Deal on Night Raids

Afghanistan and the U.S. have struck a deal on special forces operations in the insurgency-wracked country, Kabul said Sunday, with night raids -- a controversial issue -- to be led by Afghans.

Kabul's foreign ministry invited journalists to a signing ceremony for the agreement later Sunday, and President Hamid Karzai's spokesman Aimal Faizi told AFP: "After the signing of this document all night raids become Afghan-led."

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At Least 12 Killed in Afghanistan Suicide Blast

A suicide bomber on Wednesday killed at least 12 people and injured many more in the Faryab province in northern Afghanistan, a Norwegian armed forces' spokesman told Agece France Presse.

"There are many dead and injured. The numbers I have for the time being are at least 12 killed, but this number is not definitive," Lieutenant Colonel John Espen Lien said, adding that no Norwegian soldiers in NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were nearby when the blast occurred.

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