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Ghani optimistic about peace talks with Taliban

AT News Report-KABUL: Expressing optimism over the peace talks with the Taliban, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said Saturday that Afghanistan is moving on the right track to achieve lasting peace and stability.

He shared the optimism about the Afghan-led peace process during a press conference with the US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

The president did not provide more details about peace talks with anti-government militant groups, and said the government is not in a situation to give details in this regard.

This comes as reports said recently that the Taliban leadership is prepared to sit in for peace talks with the Afghan officials aimed at ending violence in the country.

Speaking at the same occasion, Carter said the withdrawal plan of US troops from Afghanistan will be discussed in more details during President Ghani’s visit to US the upcoming month.

He said that 10,000 US-led coalition forces would remain in Afghanistan.

He said the withdrawal plan was discussed during his visit to Kabul with Afghan officials. Carter insisted that the issue should be reconsidered.

In the meantime, President Ghani insisted that the US administration should discuss the review of troops’ withdrawal with the Afghan leadership.

President Ghani also said that Afghanistan respects President Obama’s framework for the presence of US troops in the country.

Carter arrived in Kabul on Saturday to see American troops and commanders, meet with Afghan leaders and assess whether US withdrawal plans are too risky to Afghan security.

Carter earlier said that he would consider changing the current plans for withdrawing all US troops from Afghanistan if security conditions worsen.

The remarks by Carter were followed after the US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said earlier in December last year that up to 10,800 US troops would remain in Afghanistan for the first few months of 2015 but the drawdown will restart and the number of US troops would be reduced to 5,500 by the end of the same year.

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