President Obama, who paid a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Sunday, was snubbed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai when he turned down an invitation to meet with the President at Bagram Air Base outside Kabul.
The two leaders’ relationship has been strained since 2009 and essentially collapsed in February when Karzai refused to sign a bilateral security agreement with Obama to keep American forces in the country. Karzai prefers to wait and have the next president of Afghanistan sign any new agreements. According to NDTV, White House officials contend they are not surprised that Karzai could not meet with Obama.
“As we said, we weren’t planning for a bilateral meeting with President Karzai or a trip to the palace, as this trip is focused on thanking our troops,” one official said. “We did offer him the opportunity to come to Bagram, but we’re not surprised that it didn’t work on short notice.
Nevertheless, according to NDTV, “The President will likely be speaking by phone with President Karzai in the days to come, and also looks forward to working with Afghanistan’s next President after the election is complete.”