Holbrooke says Karzai's administration is “a government we can work with”; Obama: US will not be in Afghanistan “in perpetuity”; Kazakhstan to allow the US use of its air space for troops and weapons movement to Afghanistan;
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  • The US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke stated that President Karzai's administration was a "government we can work with" and that the US had a "good relationship with this government …”1 President Obama meanwhile, in an interview to Australian Broadcasting Corporation, reaffirmed his pledge to begin pulling American troops out of Afghanistan in mid-2011 and added that the US cannot be "there in perpetuity." While not agreeing with the assessment that the war in Afghanistan was getting worse, Mr. Obama stated that the momentum of the Taliban has been blunted, which had been “building up in the year prior to me taking office."2

    Kazakhstan has agreed to allow the US use of its air space for troops and weapons transportation to Afghanistan. The agreement was reached at a meeting in Washington between President Obama and President Nazarbayev, who was in Washington for the nuclear security summit. The new route to Bagram Air Base will allow US troops to fly direct from the US in a little more than 12 hours.3

    German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on April 14 and met with soldiers at the German base in Mazar-e-Sharif. Guttenberg stated that the German government has decided to beef up its military presence in Afghanistan by sending heavy artillery and other weapons to support its forces facing a rising Taliban insurgency.4

    In other developments, six people including three foreigners were killed in a suicide car bomb blast in Kandahar. The blast occurred only a few hours after another car bomb blew up outside a hotel used by Afghan journalists in Kandahar.5