White House Rolls Out Red Carpet for Karzai

Afghan leader comes to DC for (likely strained) talks
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2010 8:40 AM CDT
Afghan Preesident Hamid Karzai meets Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Saturday, May 8, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic, Pool)

(Newser) – When Hamid Karzai arrives in Washington today, he'll be met with smiles (through gritted teeth, perhaps) from Barack Obama. The administration has had a rocky relationship with Karzai—the trip was almost canceled after he publicly contemplated joining the Taliban—but Obama has ordered his aides to roll out the red carpet for the Afghan president, and to stop badmouthing him anonymously in the press, the Times reports.

Nancy Pelosi, who was in Afghanistan yesterday, promised he'd be met with “great dignity, great friendship and great candor.” Karzai will meet with Hillary Clinton tomorrow, and with Obama and Joe Biden on Wednesday. He'll dine with Biden rather than have a formal state dinner, in what's supposed to be a fence-mending moment—Biden was particularly enraged by Karzai's Taliban flirtation, according to the AP.

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