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Obama phones Karzai, discusses troop pullback call

Friday - 3/16/2012, 12:24pm  ET

By JIM KUHNHENN
Associated Press

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (AP) - President Obama has telephoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai to discuss Karzai's call for NATO troops to withdraw from rural villages.

Spokesman Jay Carney says that during the early-morning call, the leaders agreed to talk further about the demand. Karzai has told reporters in Afghanistan he's standing firm. If so, that throws a wrench in the current U.S. strategy.

Carney says the leaders reaffirmed their "shared commitment" to a gradual transition to an Afghan combat lead next year. He was briefing reporters as Obama flew to a fundraising appearance.

Karzai's demand followed the weekend massacre of 16 Afghans. The suspect is a U.S. soldier who was stationed at a rural outpost.

Karzai's demand sowed confusion among U.S. officials, but Carney says the two leaders are "very much on the same page."


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)