WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai agreed on Wednesday to press forward with a U.S.-Afghan security pact, the White House said, despite the curtailment of NATO operations in response to a surge in “insider” attacks on foreign servicemen.
“The two presidents discussed a range of issues, including efforts to stem insider attacks on U.S., coalition, and Afghan forces,” the White House said in a statement summarizing a video conference call between the two leaders.
They also agreed to continue implementation of a Strategic Partnership agreement signed in May during Obama’s visit to Afghanistan, the White House said.
The White House said on Tuesday there would be no change in Obama’s timeline for gradually handing over security responsibility to Afghans and eventually withdrawing U.S. troops. NATO has agreed to remove most of its forces in 2014.
At least 51 foreign troops have been killed in “insider” attacks this year in which Afghan security personnel have turned their weapons on their Western mentors.
NATO ordered a cutback on Tuesday in operations with Afghan forces in response to a surge of insider attacks, but said the restriction was temporary and would not derail the security handover.
The two leaders also discussed the need to encourage “restraint and non-violence” in reaction to inflammatory materials, the White House said. U.S. diplomatic compounds in some Muslim countries have been hit by violent protests by demonstrators incensed by a film insulting to Islam.
Reporting by Mark Felsenthal and Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Will Dunham