KABUL, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai left for Iran on Sunday, a statement released by his office here said.
"President Hamid Karzai at the invitation of his Iranian counterpart Dr. Hassan Rohani left for Tehran this morning," the statement said.
During the one-day visit to Iran, matters pertaining mutual cooperation including enhancing bilateral relations between the two neighboring nations will come under discussion.
Karzai's visit to Iran is taking place while U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel who arrived in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday evening is still in the country to meet with U.S. and NATO commanders as well as with the U.S. soldiers stationed in Afghanistan.
Relations between Kabul and Washington has been strained over the signing of Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) to facilitate the presence of limited number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan after the 2014 pullout of NATO-led troops from the country.
A four-day traditional Loya Jirga or grand assembly attended by 2,500 people from across Afghanistan in November endorsed BSA and urged Karzai to ink the pact by the end of 2013. However, the president rejected the demand, saying he would not sign it until after the presidential election slated for April 5, 2014.
News Analysis: Iran seeks to mend ties with world as deadlock eases
TEHRAN, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Iran's diplomatic campaign to improve relations with the world is gaining momentum after an interim deal broke the decade-long deadlock on its nuclear issue.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's ongoing visit to Tehran is aimed to create new dynamic relations between the two neighbors. Iranian and Iraqi nations can build even closer relations if the current meetings in Tehran result in dealing with the conflicts in Syria and the oil production shares within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), analysts said. Full story
U.S. Defense Secretary visits Afghanistan
KABUL, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on Saturday arrived in Afghan capital Kabul for an unannounced visit to the country, said an Afghan source.
"The U.S. secretary of defense arrived in Kabul Saturday evening and he will meet with U.S. and NATO commanders as well as with the U.S. soldiers stationed in the country," the official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Full story
News Analysis: Delay in signing of BSA has negative impact on Afghan economy
KABUL, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- The delay in the signing of the bilateral security agreement (BSA) between Afghanistan and the United States has a negative effect on the country's business climate because of the uncertainty it has spawned, particularly in the maintenance of peace and stability after the departure of the NATO forces from Afghanistan next year.
"In the past I sold three to five cars on average a week but since the standoff in the signing of the BSA, I was not able to sell a single unit during the past week," Safiullah, a used-car dealer in the outskirt of Kabul, told Xinhua on Friday. Full story