Afghanistan

US Playing Tough with Karzai over Afghan Future

Possibility of pulling out all troops may be negotiating tactic

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US officials plan a mix of hardball negotiating and flattery during a visit by Afghan President Hamid Karzai as President Barack Obama decides how deeply to cut forces in America's longest war.

Karzai will be Obama's first foreign visitor of 2013 with a White House meeting on Friday and State Department dinner on Thursday. The Afghan leader met Wednesday with senators including Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

The talks come as the freshly re-elected Obama charts out plans to pull most of the 68,000 US troops out of Afghanistan. The United States and its allies have already agreed to withdraw combat troops by the end of 2014 but questions remain on a US training and security role after that.