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U.S. VP Meets NUG Leaders during Surprise Visit to Afghanistan

(Last Updated On: December 22, 2017)

The U.S. Vice President Mike Pence made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Thursday to welcome U.S. troops and talk to President Ashraf Ghani.

Pence arrived on a military plane at Bagram Airfield. He then flew by helicopter to Kabul, where he met President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah at the presidential palace.

During the meeting, Ghani and Pence have discussed various topics including the long-delayed parliamentary elections, good governance and the U.S. new strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia.

“President Ghani welcomed Vice-President Pence and his delegation and appreciated the sacrifices of U.S. soldiers, along with Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, in the fight against terrorism. The President also commended the continued support of the U.S. for the people and government of Afghanistan,” Ghani’s office said in a statement on Friday.

The two sides stressed that 2017 has been a year full of achievements and reiterated the need for timely parliamentary and presidential elections.

“President [Ghani] called the U.S. strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia an opportunity for peace and stability in Afghanistan, which is central to stability and development in the entire region,” the statement added.

Ghani has highlighted the achievements of his government in delivering on promises to cut corruption, implement reforms to increase transparent and effectiveness governance, and nurture regional cooperation.

On his turn, the U.S. VP has reaffirmed that his country will continue and further enhance its support to Afghanistan.

According to the statement, Pence commended the performance of Afghan forces and acknowledged the progress of National Unity Government to counter-corruption, promote effective governance, further the peace process and pursue regional cooperation.

“Vice-President Pence remarked that peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan constitute the pivotal objectives of the U.S. Strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia. He assured the Afghan government of continued U.S. assistance in areas of economic development and efforts to pursue peace and stability,” the statement concluded.

Foreign dignitaries usually pay an unannounced visit to Afghanistan and return to their home countries secretly due to security concerns.

By Hesamuddin Hesam

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