Nancy Pelosi makes unannounced Afghan visit

  • Mon,21 Oct 2019 08:59:42 AM

Washington, Oct 21 (IANS): US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan where she met President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and other government officials, her office announced.

Pelosi's office announced on Sunday that the Democrat leader's visit to Kabul accompanied by a dozen lawmakers, including Republicans, who had travelled to Jordan on Saturday to receive information about the situation in Syria following the October 9 Turkish offensive, Efe news reported.

"We were pleased to meet with President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and other senior Afghanistan government officials to discuss security issues, improving governance and economic development," Pelosi said in the statement on Sunday.

"Our delegation emphasized the central importance of combating the corruption which endangers security and undermines the Afghan people's ability to achieve a stable and prosperous future. We underscored that the women of Afghanistan must be at the table for reconciliation talks," she added.

The bipartisan delegation also met the US Ambassador to Kabul, John Bass, to be briefed "on reconciliation efforts with the Taliban, which has been responsible for violent attacks in Afghanistan" and the "still-pending status of results from the Afghanistan presidential election in September".

The lawmakers also "briefly" met US Defence Secretary Mark Esper, who was also visiting the country, as well as civil society leaders in Afghanistan, including Afghan women, in addition to travelling to Camp Morehead to meet American troops.

"While Afghan women have made some progress in some areas, more work is need to ensure their security and durable economic and educational opportunities for women and girls in Afghanistan," Pelosi said in her statement on Sunday.

During the past year, the US and the Taliban held nine rounds of negotiations in Doha, in which a draft agreement was reached, before President Donald Trump abruptly cancelled these negotiations last month following a bombing in Kabul in which an American soldier was killed.

Since the end of the NATO combat mission in January 2015, the US maintains one contingent within the framework of the new allied mission of advising Afghan troops and another in "anti-terrorist" tasks.

Although NATO has stopped providing figures on the troops from each country that are part of its mission, Washington is estimated to have between 5,000-10,000 troops in Afghanistan.

 

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