Afghan President Karzai leaves for Iran

Afghan President Karzai leaves for Iran

KABUL, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai left for Iran on Sunday, a statement released by his office here said.

"President Hamid Karzai at the invitation of his Iranian counterpart Dr. Hassan Rohani left for Tehran this morning," the statement said.

During the one-day visit to Iran, matters pertaining mutual cooperation including enhancing bilateral relations between the two neighboring nations will come under discussion.

Karzai's visit to Iran is taking place while U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel who arrived in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday evening is still in the country to meet with U.S. and NATO commanders as well as with the U.S. soldiers stationed in Afghanistan.

Relations between Kabul and Washington has been strained over the signing of Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) to facilitate the presence of limited number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan after the 2014 pullout of NATO-led troops from the country.

A four-day traditional Loya Jirga or grand assembly attended by 2,500 people from across Afghanistan in November endorsed BSA and urged Karzai to ink the pact by the end of 2013. However, the president rejected the demand, saying he would not sign it until after the presidential election slated for April 5, 2014.