Karzai and Obama Convene Talks Despite Tense Relations

May 12, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

President Barak Obama (R) speaks with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai during a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, May 12, 2010. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barak Obama (R) speaks with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai during a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, May 12, 2010. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
Following what has been reported as high-strung tensions between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and President Barack Obama, discussions convened between the two this morning at the White House.

The president hoped to portray relations between him and the Afghani president in a positive light. When asked by Forbes magazine about tensions between the two leaders, Obama said, "A lot of them were simply overstated."

There may be reason to suspect that relations are strained as the eight-year war in Afghanistan has proven to be a difficult situation to leave. As the final strategies on how to exit Afghanistan are being formulated, Obama and Karzai seem to at least agree that some sort of settlement with the Taliban is in order.

While Karzai has already undertaken talks with Taliban leaders in the region, these talks will be fruitless unless some sort of compromise can be reached between America's stringent peace conditions and the Taliban’s violent past.

The conditions for a settlement between the Taliban and the United States were put forth by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this month, in an interview on NBC’s ‘”Meet the Press,” in which she said a settlement could be reached if Taliban officials were willing to reject al-Qaeda.

She said, "They have to renounce violence. They have to give up their arms. And they have to be willing to abide by the Afghan Constitution."

The talk today seemed relaxed. The White House released a joint statement in which both presidents expressed amity. The statement said, “President Obama and President Karzai reaffirmed their growing cooperation and their commitment to the solid, broad, and enduring strategic partnership between the governments and peoples of the United States and Afghanistan.”