Afghan leader Hamid Karzai strikes friendlier tone toward US after Obama's State of the Union

KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghan President Hamid Karzai has welcomed President Barack Obama's State of the Union remarks on his country, striking a friendlier note after weeks of anti-American rhetoric.

Relations between the two nations have been strained, with Karzai refusing to sign a security agreement which would allow some American troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014.

Obama said during his Tuesday speech that a small U.S. military force may remain in Afghanistan next year — but didn't say how many.

Karzai noted in a statement Wednesday that Obama had not set a timeline for signing any deal, calling that "positive."

He urged an end to "negative propaganda" against Afghanistan and said he now believes the two countries can work together to help restart Afghanistan's peace process.