Karzai, who aims to secure billions of dollars in long-term aid for his country’s military and economy, said he looked forward to a day when “Afghanistan is no longer a burden on the shoulders of of our friends in the international community, on the shoulders of the United States and our other allies.”

“I’m bringing to you and to the people of the United States the gratitude of the Afghan people for the support that your taxpayers’ money has provided Afghanistan over the past decade and for the difference that it has made to the well-being of the Afghan people,” Karzai told Obama.

The two leaders met on the sidelines of a high-stakes NATO summit consumed by the question of the alliance’s withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, and its role beyond that date. Obama has made it known he wants leaders gathered here to sign off on a plan to hand over combat duties to Afghan forces in 2013.

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