According to the Secretary of Defense, the Afghan conflict will experience a turning point in 2013, is to see Afghan forces take over from NATO troops before the start of combat units, expected at the end of the following year. Kabul and Washington have begun the "final chapter" of their campaign for a sovereign Afghanistan and even its own security, Thursday welcomed U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who received Hamid Karzai. "We have come a long way towards the common goal of building a nation in which we can be proud of, that will never be a safe haven for terrorism," he said before starting his head-to- head with the Afghan president to the Pentagon. Washington and Kabul are full discussions on the future of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan. The Obama administration intends to maintain a detachment of men from 3000 to 9000 to continue the fight against terrorism and train the Afghan army, but it has indicated this week that withdrawal was not excluded after 2014. Hamid Karzai, who will be received Friday at the White House, meanwhile is convinced of the early conclusion "of a bilateral agreement that guarantees the interests of Afghanistan but also those of the United States."