Afghan president turns down invitation to meet with Obama

Afghan President Hamid Karzai turned down an invitation to meet with President Barack Obama Sunday. A White House official issued a statement to the press pool attributing Karzai’s decision to the “short notice” of the request and the fact Obama’s surprise visit to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan was dedicated to meeting with U.S. troops ahead of the Memorial Day holiday.

“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,” the 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.”

Karzai, who became president in late 2001 after U.S. troops helped topple the Taliban regime, has had a difficult relationship with America.