(CBS News) Afghan President Hamid Karzai has at best a mixed record navigating his country's relations with the United States, a leading U.S. senator on military matters said Monday.
"President Karzai's record is at best mixed," said Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower.
"President Karzai is someone who has been capable at times to rally his people. At other times he seemed to be distracted or concerned with issues that are not essential, in my view, to the mutual efforts" of Afghanistan and the United States, Reed said in an interview with "CBS This Morning."
The Rhode Island Democrat and former Army Ranger was in Afghanistan earlier this month when President Obama made a surprise visit to sign a new strategic partnership agreement with Karzai that would enable U.S. and NATO forces to remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014 to assist with security and counter-terrorism.
Mr. Obama wraps up a NATO summit in Chicago later today and said Sunday that the plans for Afghan forces to take over security control of the country by 2014 remain in place, though "we still have a lot of work to do, and there will be great challenges ahead."
Reed expressed optimism that there will be a gradual assumption of the command, control and operations of the Afghan forces.
"I believe by 2014 the Afghan forces will be with international support, trainers, some logistical support, be able to provide stability in the country," Reed said.
"The Afghan leaders and the international community have to look for a political settlement, but the security forces will provide the foundation for the stability that is absolutely necessary, as our troops withdraw, and they will withdraw," Reed said.