Vice President Joe Biden will meet with President Hamid Karzai and visit with US service members and civilian personnel. -AFP File Photo

KABUL: US Vice President Joe Biden landed in the Afghan capital Kabul Monday, where he will hold talks with President Hamid Karzai at the start of a year when US troops are expected to begin limited withdrawals.

Officials travelling with Biden said that, as well as meeting Karzai, he would also meet the commander of international troops in Afghanistan, US General David Petraeus and US Ambassador to Kabul Karl Eikenberry.

“The primary purpose of the trip is to assess progress toward the transition to Afghan-led security beginning this year, and to demonstrate the United States' commitment to a long-term partnership with Afghanistan,” the White House said in a statement.

“While in Afghanistan, the Vice President will meet with President Hamid Karzai, visit with US service members and civilian personnel, and tour an Afghan National Army Training Center.”

There are currently about 97,000 American troops in Afghanistan as part of a 140,000-strong international troop force.

Limited, conditions-based troop withdrawals are expected to start in July ahead of a scheduled transfer of responsibility for security to Afghan forces in 2014.

The visit comes four days after the US announced it was sending an extra 1,400 Marines to southern Afghanistan, seen as the heart of the Taliban insurgency, in a bid to pre-empt an expected spring offensive in April or May.

Biden, who flew to Afghanistan unannounced, last visited the country as vice president-elect in January 2009.

Opinion

Poll language
17 Apr 2021

Poll language

There is a distinction between angry rhetoric and the language of the gutter.
Exempt from accountability?
Updated 17 Apr 2021

Exempt from accountability?

PM Khan has done a disservice to Pakistan by exempting certain institutions from performance requirements.
Education disrupted
Updated 16 Apr 2021

Education disrupted

The cost of not doing anything about them in terms of learning losses and dropouts are going to be very large.

Editorial

17 Apr 2021

Pak-India mediation

QUESTIONS had been swirling about what and who has prompted the latest detente between Pakistan and India. Now, it...
17 Apr 2021

Energy exploration

SOME exploration and production companies want the government to prioritise offshore exploration — a high-risk...
17 Apr 2021

Professor’s removal

IN a step that will go far in sending a message of reassurance to female students and academic staff in ...
Ban is no answer
Updated 16 Apr 2021

Ban is no answer

The ban will not dilute the narrative that fuels the party, it may even fan it.
16 Apr 2021

Slow recovery

THE pace of growth in large-scale manufacturing output continues to slow down, with LSM production contracting by...
16 Apr 2021

Ramazan profiteering

WITH the month of Ramazan underway, people have begun to feel the effects of galloping inflation even more. Prices...