US military chief reaffirms support to Afghan-led peace process

US military chief reaffirms support to Afghan-led peace process

Kabul: The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff on Tuesday reaffirmed his country’s support to an Afghan-led peace process.

At a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul, Gen. Joseph Dunford said the US would continue supporting the Asian country and its government in the fight against terror and in favour a peace process led and headed by the Afghans, according to a statement by the presidential palace, Efe reported.

Dunford also discussed the reforms of Afghan security forces and security measures for the parliamentary elections later this year.

In August 2017, US President Donald Trump announced a new strategy for Afghanistan that included increasing the number of troops to 14,000 and outlined a tough stance on Pakistan, a country that Washington accuses of sheltering the Taliban.

According to a statement by the US forces, the main purpose of Dunford’s visit to Kabul was to review the progress of the new strategy.

“I want to talk to the actual advisors who are working on the ground with the Afghans every day and make some conclusions about where we are,” said Dunford, according to the statement released Monday.

On February 28, Ghani had offered peace talks “without preconditions” to the Taliban along with political recognition and a release of prisoners and removal of sanctions.

The Taliban expressed its willingness to negotiate with the US although they are yet to respond to Ghani’s proposal.

Afghanistan is going through one of its bloodiest phases after the end of the NATO mission in 2015, which, however, continues to be present in the country to train Afghan forces.