Obama calls Karzai, praises successful elections

KABUL/WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): President Hamid Karzai and his US counterpart Barack Obama held a telephonic conversation on Sunday night.
Both presidents held talks after Obama landed at the Bagram Airbase in central Parwan province following a secret trip to Afghanistan.
A statement from the Presidential Palace said Obama congratulated Karzai on holding successful presidential and provincial council elections and the key role played by Afghans in the democratic process.  
The US president also expressed optimism that the second round of polls would be held peacefully. Also, the Afghanistan peace process came under discussion.
The statement quoted Karzai as saying the oath-taking ceremony for the new Afghan president would take place on August 2, hoping a high-ranking US officials would attend the event.
Obama praised Karzai for the progress made by the Afghan National Security Forces in the last few years. The call lasted about 15-20 minutes, after Karzai declined to meet the US president at the Bagram Airbase.
A senior administration official told reporters travelling with Obama on Air Force One that the president called the Afghan president before leaving Bagram.
At Bagram, the official said, Obama received an optimistic assessment of Afghan security forces progress and that the first-round election was held successfully.
"Their message was that different pieces of the puzzle are coming together," the official said. A White House official said there was no meeting planned, but the US government did offer a meeting with Karzai.

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