President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Saturday said that he would discuss American forces’ presence in Afghanistan and their cooperation during his visit to Washington next month.
During a joint meeting with Ash Carter, the US defense secretary, who arrived today in Kabul, Ghani said that he was scheduled to visit America next month to discuss what role the US could play to further bolster cooperation with Afghanistan.
Ghani thanked the American people for their continued support to Afghanistan during the past 14 years. He said that he was planning to visit the US for candid talks on cooperation between the two countries.
The military responsibility from foreign forces had been successfully handed over to Afghan forces and currently Afghans were fighting independently against insurgents, the president said. He said that American troops had returned to their country while the remaining US troops would enter a new mission of training and equipping Afghan military.
The combat mission of foreign troops in Afghanistan ended at the end of 2014 and currently only 9,800 American soldiers remained in the country.
“Initial days of taking full military responsibilities were difficult for Afghan forces but we have passed that phase successfully. The nation has reposed more trust on the government,” he said,
Talking to Carter, Ghani said: “We faced with new challenges. Terrorism is a phenomenon that threatens the US and Afghanistan equally, which needs a joint short, mid and long-term cooperation. Our primary mission is to establish peace and stability.”
Replying to a question about reconciliation with Taliban, he said ground for peace was paved and the negotiation was in Afghans interest. The Afghan government was optimistic peace talks with Taliban would produce results, he hoped.
Carter during his first visit as a US defense secretary said that he was interested to know about the opinions of Afghan officials about the ongoing situation in Afghanistan and share them with the US President Barak Obama.
He reiterated US support to Afghanistan after the country’s combat mission ended. He said that the Afghan president in his visit to Washington would discuss the number of American forces to be stayed in Afghanistan.
Carter said that talks about new mission of American forces to equip and train Afghan forces were underway.