In his first media appearance since visiting President Obama in Washington, Hamid Karzai announced that the United States had agreed to give his country a fleet of drones. The Afghan President didn't specify how many or which kind of drones Afghanistan would get, but he was careful to explain that the unmanned vehicles would be unarmed. American troops will even stick around and show Afghan forces how to use them. "They will train Afghans to fly them, use them and maintain them," said Karzai at a news conference. "Besides drones, Afghanistan will be provided with other intelligence gathering equipment which will be used to defend and protect our air and ground sovereignty." That includes 20 helicopters and at least four C-130 transport planes.
You could call it a parting gift. Karzai capped off his visit to the U.S. with a press conference in the White House East Room, where he and Obama stood side-by-side as they announced an expedited plan to transition power from the 66,000 American forces in Afghanistan to the Afghan army whose abilities were "exceeding initial expectations." More specifically, the two leaders said that the plan was for Afghan troops to be in full control by December 2012. Obama said that "this war will come to a responsible end," while Defense Secretary Leon Panetta later hinted at the equipment that the U.S. would make available to its allies to ease the transition.