By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday spoke with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on the phone and the two sides discussed the regional efforts to advance the Afghan peace process and the recent waves of violence including the attack on Sayed Al-Shuhada school that martyred over 60 students and wounded 150 more.
Secretary Blinken conveyed Eid greetings and expressed his deepest condolences to the families of those lost in recent violence in Afghanistan, including in the horrific attack on a girls’ school in Kabul last week, the US State Department said in a statement.
The statement said, “the Secretary conveyed America’s steadfast support for the US-Afghan partnership and for Afghanistan’s security forces.” The two sides also discussed the importance of national unity in Afghanistan at this time as well as regional efforts to advance the peace process, the statement said.
“We support our partner and Afghan security forces,” Blinken tweeted after phone call with President Ghani.
On the other hand, President Ghani said that the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan opened a new chapter in Afghanistan’s relations with the United States and other international partners, adding that the chapter of cooperation will be continuous and meaningful, according to a presidential palace statement.
The President thanked the United States for its assistance to Afghanistan, adding that in the new chapter of relations, the Government of Afghanistan will focus on managing this new chapter together with its international partners.
Meanwhile, negotiators from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban met in Doha on Friday and discussed the expedition of peace efforts. The two sides agreed to continue their negotiations after Eid, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem said.
Abdul Salam Rahimi and Fatima Gailani represented the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan during the talks. Taliban delegation was chaired by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in the meeting.
This new development took place at a time that a temporary ceasefire was in place for the three days amidst calls for its extension after Eid.
Both the Afghan government and the people as well as the international community have been pressing the Taliban to agree on a long-term ceasefire. The Taliban has not accepted the proposal and instead has come up with some preconditions for it.