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Afghan, US presidents question Taliban’s commitment to peace talks

KABUL: U.S President Joe Biden and Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani have, during a Friday phone call, concluded that the Taliban’s brutal campaign in Afghanistan after the departure of most U.S. and NATO troops, is not consistent with the group’s claimed support for a negotiated peace settlement in Afghanistan.

“President Biden and President Ghani agreed that the Taliban’s current offensive is in direct contradiction to the movement’s claim to support a negotiated settlement of the conflict. President Biden also reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to continue supporting the Afghan security forces to defend themselves,” a White House readout of the leaders’ phone call said.

The two leaders “deplored” the loss of innocent lives via targeted killings and the displacement of civilians and the damage to infrastructure and buildings.

According to the White House, Biden reaffirmed continued U.S. support and aid for the country, including for Afghan women, girls and minorities – whose status is extremely precarious given the Taliban’s history of repression of these groups.

“President Biden urged continued work for unity among Afghan leaders on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the values on which it is based. The two leaders discussed the importance of Afghans coming together to support their common interest in security and peace, and President Biden underscored continued U.S. diplomatic engagement in support of a durable and just political settlement,” the readout said.

Meanwhile, a Afghan presidential palace statement said that both leaders stressed continued diplomatic and economic support to ANDSF and government.

“Both sides stressed the importance of Afghans coming together for peace and security and reiterated the enduring partnership, continued diplomatic and economic support for the Afghan government, security forces and the importance of preserving the gains of the last twenty years,” the palace tweeted.

The Kabul Times

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