President Obama and Afghan Leader Discuss Latest Steps Towards U.S. Withdrawl

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama has spoken by phone with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and discussed progress toward handing over security operations to Afghan forces.

The White House said the two leaders on Tuesday also discussed preparations for next year’s Afghan elections, plus Karzai’s recent meeting with the emir of Qatar. That meeting focused on the possible opening of a Taliban office in Qatar.

The White House said Karzai also welcomed the U.S. handover of the Parwan detention facility last month. Karzai had demanded control as a matter of national sovereignty.

April already has proven to be the deadliest month this year for Afghans and foreigners serving in Afghanistan. The U.S. and other foreign combat forces are preparing to withdraw by the end of 2014, shifting to a training and advisory role.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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