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A Tale of Two Calls to Two Presidents

From the White House, readouts of President Obama’s communications with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari about the administration’s revised Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy. Try to guess which one is in better favor with Obama.

Zardari:

President Obama spoke with Pakistani President Asif Zardari by telephone this morning. The two leaders discussed the President’s decision on the way forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The President recognized the profound sacrifices Pakistan has made in its efforts to combat extremists in its northwest and emphasized that our goal is to defeat al-Qaida and to ensure stability in the region. The two presidents agreed that the close partnership between Pakistan and the United States is vital to success, and President Obama promised to continue to assist Pakistan in its efforts against extremists.

Karzai:

President Obama spoke with President Karzai on the evening of November 30 via video teleconference for one hour about the way ahead in Afghanistan. The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to work closely together to ensure stability in Afghanistan and to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for terrorists. They also discussed a range of related issues, including security, governance, corruption, economic development, and regional relations.

President Obama underscored the need for more rapid development of the Afghan National Security Forces so that Afghans themselves can assume greater responsibility over the security of their country. The President also emphasized that U.S. and international efforts in Afghanistan are not open ended and must be evaluated toward measurable and achievable goals within the next 18 to 24 months. Both Presidents agreed to redouble their efforts to improve the delivery of services to the Afghan people, particularly at the local level, and to reinvigorate economic development and investment, especially in the areas of agriculture, mining, water management, and energy.

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