WASHINGTON (AFP) – General David Petraeus, the commander of US and international troops in Afghanistan, will meet with President Barack Obama in the White House on Monday, US officials said.
The Oval Office meeting, which will be closed to reporters, comes immediately after the US president sits down with Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, the White House said Sunday.
The Obama-Petraeus meeting comes after Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday told international troops to “stop their operations in our land,” his strongest remarks yet over mistaken killings of civilians.
It also comes one week after Karzai chastised Petraeus at a cabinet meeting, saying that his apology after nine children were killed in a March 1 NATO air strike was “not enough.”
Both Petraeus and Obama apologized for the incident.
Civilian casualties — especially involving children — are a highly sensitive issue in war-torn Afghanistan, where a Taliban-led insurgency has raged since the Islamists were ousted from power by a US-led 2001 invasion.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the children were mistaken for rebels.
Officials said Thursday that a Karzai relative was also killed in a separate ISAF raid.
Afghanistan is likely to top the Rasmussen-Obama agenda, as Danish troops will begin a slow withdrawal at mid-year. Rasmussen made a surprise trip to Afghanistan in early March to visit Danish troops.