He said there is "no denying the progress that the Afghan people have made in recent years," but also said the country still faces major challenges, including "a brutal insurgency."
The U.S. and Afghan governments have reaffirmed their intention to "disrupt, dismantle, and defeat" al Qaeda and its allies, the president said, and noted that U.S. military forces have regained the momentum in Afghanistan.
Obama made his remarks while meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the White House, one day after the Afghan leader met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as part of a series of high-level discussions regarding the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is in Washington Tuesday meeting with members of the Obama administration. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - Brushing recent public spats aside, the Obama administration welcomed Hamid Karzai to Washington Tuesday, opening a round of partnership talks with the Afghan president.
At a breakfast meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed Karzai for several days of partnership talks. Later Tuesday, Clinton is expected to hold closed-door bilateral talks with Karzai. President Barack Obama will host his Afghan counterpart at the White House on Wednesday.
Clinton said Tuesday that the United States' commitment to Afghanistan remains strong and will continue long after U.S. combat troops have withdrawn.
But she said it was unrealistic to expect the two nations to see eye to eye on every issue.
(CNN) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday the United States and its allies must have patience if his country is not ready to assume control of its own security by July 2011, when U.S. troops would begin leaving under President Obama's plan.
Karzai spoke to CNN's "Amanpour" program, in what was believed to be his first Western television interview since Obama's announcement last week that he will deploy an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Obama also said the U.S. forces would begin withdrawing from Afghanistan in July 2011.
The date was not "an exit announcement," but instead a goal for Afghan forces to be able to start assuming security control from U.S.-led allied forces, Karzai said in the interview.
The United States and its allies "must have patience" and "stay with us" if Afghanistan is not ready to assume security control by then, Karzai said.
(CNN) – It is unclear if President Obama's tough words for President Hamid Karzai are enough to reassure skeptical Democrats. Even hawkish Democratic Rep. Jane Harman opposes the president, in large part, because of the corruption problems surrounding the Afghan president.
At a brief media appearance with visiting Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Obama said he spoke to Karzai earlier Monday and congratulated him on winning a second term.
"Although the process was messy, I'm pleased to say that the final outcome was determined in accordance with Afghan law, which I think is very important," Obama said of the August election and subsequent turmoil over fraudulent votes for Karzai that were disqualified.
Obama said he told Karzai that for Afghanistan, "this has to be a point in time in time in which we being to write a new chapter based on improved governance, a much more serious effort to eradicate corruption, joint efforts to accelerate the training of Afghan security forces so that the Afghan people can provide their own security."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – With a runoff presidential election in Afghanistan appearing likely, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CNN Friday that she expects the current president, Hamid Karzai, will win.
"It is likely that they will find that President Karzai got very close to the 50-plus-1" in August's balloting, she said in an exclusive CNN interview, referring to the 50 percent plus one vote needed to avoid a runoff. "... I think one can conclude that the likelihood of him winning a second round is probably pretty high."
Clinton said the timing of President Barack Obama's decision on whether to commit more troops to the fight in Afghanistan will not hinge on the election results. "I think the president is expecting to make a decision on his own timetable," she said, "when he is absolutely comfortable with what he believes is in the best interest of the United States."
Karzai faces allegations of corruption and vote fraud in the election, but the secretary of state sidestepped a question of whether he is a "reliable" partner for the United States and the international community. Administration officials have said that without a reliable partner, a counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan would not succeed.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Afghanistan's president Tuesday praised U.S. plans to provide more civilian help to his country, and expressed hope that the country will grow and become less dependent on international partners in coming years.
But President Hamid Karzai - citing the words of U.S. President Barack Obama's point man on Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke - stressed that Afghanistan's stability depends on whether Taliban strongholds in neighboring Pakistan are confronted.
"Ambassador Holbrooke had the best remark that I've ever heard from from a U.S. official," Karzai said. "He said no matter how economically powerful Afghanistan is or becomes, no matter how effective a government Afghanistan has, no matter how powerful an army and the security institution of Afghanistan is, unless the sanctuaries of our neighbors, the training grounds of our neighbors go away, Afghanistan will not be stable or peaceful."
Addressing the re-emergence of Taliban militants, who were chased from power by the U.S.-coalition after the September 11, 2001, attack on the United States by the al Qaeda terror network based in Afghanistan, Karzai said, "We did not address the question of sanctuaries in time," a reality, he said, that hurts both Afghanistan and Pakistan.