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US concerned over increased violence in Afghanistan

The United States on Monday expressed concern over increase in violence in Afghanistan and supported President Ashraf Ghani’s recent effort to address this security challenge in the country.

“We are obviously concerned about the violence in Afghanistan and in and around Kabul, lately. That’s of deep concern to us,” the State Department Spokesperson, John Kirby, told reporters at his daily news conference.

Noting that the Afghan National Security Forces are doing a good job responding to that violence, he said it is not unexpected that, particularly in the warmer months, the Taliban tries to exert themselves inside Afghanistan.

“But we support President Ghani, his efforts to get at this security challenge in his country. That’s why we have nearly 10,000 American troops there as well as from international partners to help the Afghan National Security Forces as they continue to take the lead for security inside their country,” Kirby said.

Responding to a question, Kirby said the long-term answer here is a reconciliation process that is Afghan-led. “We welcomed the first set of talks that occurred, and I would point you again to President Ghani for what the next step looks like, but we certainly have every expectation and every hope that those kinds of talks can continue,” he said.

Kirby insisted that the United States want to see the reconciliation process move forward. “Nothing’s changed about that. And Pakistan has a shared interest in this,” he said.

“This is a common cause, common challenge, common enemy both sides face, and we welcome the dialogue and the cooperation that has happened of late. We understand there’s tensions. There have been and there will continue to be tensions across that border because it’s such a safe haven for extremists,” Kirby said.

Pakistan has suffered deeply from Taliban attacks inside their country, and their soldiers have bled just like Afghan soldiers have bled, he said.

“That’s why we continue to think it’s important for the two sides to look for ways to cooperate and to communicate and to work towards a better solution here, which, again, we believe is through the reconciliation process,” Kirby said. (PAN)

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