"President Karzai's inauguration speech sent the right message about moving in a new direction," he said of last fall's elections in Afghanistan. "And going forward, we will be clear about what we expect from those who receive our assistance."
Obama said the United States will support provincial and district level government and specific ministries, such as those devoted to Afghan security, instead of just sending funds to Karzai's central government.
Today, Jones said there are reasons to be encouraged about Karzai's performance -- pending a full U.S. assessment later this year on Afghan progress toward meeting a series of benchmarks agreed upon with the United States.
But he also outlined three things the United States still wants to see: First, Karzai must lead a merit-based promotion system within his government. Second, Afghanistan must cut off poppy production, the profits from which help sustain insurgent forces. Third, the government must set up a judicial system that can prosecute, try and incarcerate drug traffickers.
"These seeds are firmly planted," Jones said.
Before announcing his new plan for Afghanistan, Obama gathered his national security team on nine separate occasions for lengthy strategy sessions beginning last September.
But he never visited the country while conducting that review.
George W. Bush also visited Afghanistan twice as president -- on March 1, 2006 and Dec. 15, 2008.