Bush, Karzai Discuss Conditions in Afghanistan

Amid the turmoil in the financial markets, President Bush makes a statement outside the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008, about the economy and government efforts to remedy the crisis. The president canceled a planned trip to the South today so he could meet with his economic advisers instead. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush is highlighting the progress, not the problems, in Afghanistan.

The president met with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai in Washington today. Bush says civilian reconstruction work is improving the daily lives of Afghans living among a persistent insurgency.

Bush says the fight is "difficult'' in Afghanistan, but says at the same time, there is progress, promise and hope.

The two leaders are trying to quell violence being waged by the Taliban and al-Qaida extremists hiding in the border regions of Pakistan. U.S.-Afghan relations have recently been strained by civilian casualties in bombing raids. Karzai says the raids undermine the credibility of the U.S.-led coalition.

The meeting is likely to be the last between Karzai and Bush at the White House. The Afghan leader took the opportunity to thank the U.S. president for his commitment and patience.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)