Bush to begin videoconference chats with Afghan president

President George W. Bush will soon start holding periodic videoconferences with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a move that reflects growing concern over continued violence that is making this the deadliest year in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in 2001. The videoconferences, over a secure link, accompany reviews that the Bush administration and its NATO allies are conducting of their mission in Afghanistan. The reassessments points out a need to find better ways to coordinate the fight against al-Qaida and the hard-line Taliban, help Karzai gain greater control outside the Afghan capital of Kabul and curb opium cultivation that bankrolls insurgents. Bush's decision to have regular videoconferences with Karzai pushes US policy in Afghanistan to a higher level. Bush has regular videoconferences with allies, including Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.