KABUL (AP) — US Secretary of State John Kerry flew into Afghanistan on an unannounced visit Monday to see President Hamid Karzai amid concerns the Afghan president may be jeopardizing progress in the war against extremism with anti-American rhetoric.
Kerry arrived in the Afghan capital for a 24-hour visit, during which he is meeting with Karzai, civic leaders and others to discuss continued US assistance to the country. Karzai has infuriated US officials by accusing Washington of colluding with Taliban insurgents to keep Afghanistan weak even as the Obama administration presses ahead with plans to hand off security responsibility to Afghan forces and end NATO’s combat mission by the end of next year.
Earlier Monday, the US military ceded control of its last detention facility in Afghanistan, a year after the two sides initially agreed on the transfer. Karzai demanded control of the Parwan facility, located near the US-run Bagram military base north of Kabul, as a matter of national sovereignty.
The top US commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Joseph Dunford, handed over Parwan at a ceremony there after signing an agreement with Afghan Defense Minister Bismullah Khan Mohammadi. “This ceremony highlights an increasingly confident, capable and sovereign Afghanistan,” Dunford said.
Kerry flew to Afghanistan from Amman, Jordan, where he spent the night after visiting Iraq on Sunday. In Baghdad, Kerry confronted Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for continuing to grant Iran access to its airspace and said Iraq’s behavior was raising questions about its reliability as a partner.
Before leaving Amman for Kabul, Kerry met with the head of Pakistan’s army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.