US Vice-President Dick Cheney has made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to visit President Hamid Karzai, ahead of the NATO summit early next month in Bucharest.
made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Thursday and met
President Hamid Karzai, as the United States urges NATO allies
to provide more troops and support.
faced by the 59-year-old alliance and has led to open
differences among allies over strategy and troop levels.
Boosting troops numbers in Afghanistan will be a key issue at a
NATO summit in Bucharest in early April.
term commitment for seeing Afghanistan successful," a senior
U.S. administration official travelling with Cheney told
its very, very difficult history and be a successful member of
the international community that can sustain itself going
East trip that began in Iraq, to meet Karzai in advance of the
NATO summit "to discuss progress in a democratic Afghanistan,
as well as the work that lies ahead, especially in the south",
Lea Anne McBride, Cheney's spokeswoman, told reporters
travelling with him.
guarded presidential palace for talks with Karzai.
in Afghanistan has about 43,000 troops.
U.S.-Afghanistan strategic partnership and how we will continue
our efforts to fight terrorism and will help Afghanistan
further along the road toward becoming a more prosperous and
stable country," McBride said.
suicide attacks on the capital Kabul this year in a campaign to
wear down the will of NATO countries to carry on the fight in
Afghanistan and force a withdrawal of foreign troops.
European members reluctant to send their forces to southern and
eastern Afghanistan where U.S., British, Canadian and Dutch
soldiers clash almost daily with Taliban militants.
NATO allies to provide another 1,000 soldiers to reinforce its
combat forces as a condition for keeping its troops in the
Cheney would also discuss steps the Afghan government needs to
take on fighting corruption and narcotics.
corruption this week, admitting it was rampant in every level
of the state. Afghanistan is ranked 172 out of 180 countries on
Transparency International's corruption perception index.
factor driving corruption, with the illegal crop accounting for
as much as a third of the entire economy. Afghanistan last year
produced 93 percent of the world's opium, which is processed to
make heroin, and efforts to curb the crop have largely failed.
parliamentary and presidential elections next year and discuss
Pakistan in the wake of elections there and how the neighbours
can work together to fight the common Taliban threat, the
administration official said.
Date created : 2008-03-20