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Afghan delegation’s trip to US full of achievements: VP Saleh

KABUL: First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said Sunday that President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani’s two-day trip to the United States was highly productive and significant achievements were made during the delegation’s short stay in Washington.

President Ghani was accompanied by Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, First Vice President Amrullah Saleh, National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib, Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar and peace negotiators Matin Bek and Habiba Sarabi.

President Ghani and the delegation accompanying him met with US President Joe Biden, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and a large number of US lawmakers, including US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

VP Saleh highlighted 10 points in a statement as key achievements in President Ghani’s trip to the United States.  He said that the main goal of the day-and-a-half trip of the president to the US was to strengthen relations with the US after the withdrawal of its military from the country and to create more clarity regarding the breadth of cooperation.

He said that discussion focused on ways to implement and effectively utilize aid for security, defense, development and humanitarian assistance from the US. VP Saleh also said that the delegation explained the complications of the peace process and the peace negotiations from the perspective of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and stated that the Republic has so far not withdrawn from its commitment to the talks or to ending the conflict through a political solution.

VP Saleh added that during the trip the Afghan delegation emphasized the importance of the Afghan Republic’s principled and legitimate function in defending the soil and state sovereignty.  He said they also highlighted the region’s role in post-withdrawal Afghanistan through an economic-centric forum that was focused on Afghanistan’s participation in the region.

VP Saleh said that President Ghani reiterated that Afghanistan respects the US’s decision to fully withdraw its troops from the country. “Key leaders from both parties in the US welcomed the Afghan delegation and vowed continued commitment to Afghanistan,” he added.

VP Saleh said that the US president told them that “the Afghan nation should know that I am their friend in the White House.” Biden assured them that the narrative of the US backing out from its commitments to Afghanistan is wrong and baseless and that the US will not leave behind its friends and allies, he said.

The first Vice President added that Biden pledged that the United States would continue its assistance to the Afghan defense and security forces, and continue to provide economic, humanitarian and diplomatic support to Afghanistan.

VP Saleh said they had an off-the-record meeting with a group of Afghanistan’s friends that included former ambassadors, former military members, development workers and analysts to discuss Afghanistan’s situation.

The trip comes as the level of violence remains high in the country amid the Taliban’s increasing offensives against Afghan forces.

In a meeting with Afghan leaders on Friday, Biden promised a “sustained” partnership with Afghanistan but reiterated that “Afghans are going to have to decide their future.”

The Kabul Times

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