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Obama reiterates support to Afghan peace process

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama has assured his Afghan counterpart of Washington’s continued support for the Afghan-led peace process.

On Wednesday evening, Mr Obama held a video conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the country’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Abdullah Abdullah.

The US president “applauded President Ghani for his efforts to advance reconciliation” with the Taliban rebels and to “improve regional economic connectivity”, the White House said.

Since President Ghani came to power early last year, the Afghan government has made several attempts to engage the Taliban and has also significantly improved its relations with Pakistan.

Early this month, Pakistan hosted the first direct talks between the Afghan government and Taliban leaders in Murree. The United States, China and Pakistan also participated in this meeting.

The White House said that in their video conference, US and Afghan presidents “discussed the need to encourage regional cooperation to counter terrorist threats” and Mr Obama “offered continued US support for the Afghan-led peace process”.

The conversation focused on Afghanistan’s national security and defence issues.

A statement issued by the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, said President Obama praised Afghanistan’s progress on “efforts to curb corruption and revive the economy”, the two necessary components of a durable peace in Afghanistan.

The leaders reviewed various proposals to strengthen Afghan National Security and Defence Forces as the US continues to help counter threats to the country.

They also reviewed proposals for deepening the close US-Afghanistan partnership to counter threats to Afghanistan and its people.

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