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Reviving stalled peace talks dominated US Defense Chief’s Kabul visit

AT News Report

KABUL: The US Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper paid an unannounced visit to Kabul on Sunday to hold talks with the top Afghan and US officials regarding the stalled peace talks and others issues related to Afghanistan.

“The goal is to reach a political solution in a period of time, this is the best option for development,” Esper was quoted by the media accompanying him in the trip. He also talked about Washington’s intension to may decrees the number of its troops from 14, 000 to 8,600 in case if there is a need for it.

Presidential Spokesman, Sediq Sediqi said President Ashraf Ghani has held a meeting with Esper, where they discussed the upcoming efforts related to Afghan peace, regional issues and equipment and arming of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.

“Mark Esper, on behalf of the people and government of the United States expressed his deep condolences and sympathies to President Ghani over the terrorist incident in Haska-Mena of Nangarhar,” Sediqi said on his twitter.

His trip comes at a time, while the European Union in Afghanistan has expressed optimism for beginning of Afghan peace talks.

“We like to be witnessed of resumption of peace talks between the US and Taliban officials,” said Roland Cobia, the EU ambassador to Afghanistan. If the result of the peace talks would be a formation of a government so called “Islamic Emirate”, Roland said the EU would not cooperate with such administration.

This comes as US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad on Saturday met the Chairman of Joint Chief and Staff, Mark Milley, where both sides exchanged views over Afghanistan and reduction of conflicts in the country. Milley knows Afghanistan well, Khalilzad said on his twitter.

Khalilzad has held nine rounds of peace talks with the Taliban representatives in Qatar. But US President Donald Trump has called off the negotiations and accused the Taliban of not interested in peace, saying that he cancelled the talks after the militants rejected a ceasefire.

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