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US Gen. Dunford cautiously optimistic about Afghan peace push

AT Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The top U.S. general said on Friday he was cautiously optimistic about efforts to reach a negotiated end to the nearly 18-year-old war in Afghanistan, in remarks that followed talks in Kabul with Afghanistan’s president and the top U.S. negotiator.

“We’re all cautiously optimistic, in the sense that Ambassador Khalilzad is now doing something we haven’t seen in the entire time that we’ve been deployed to Afghanistan,” said Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, referring to Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. envoy negotiating with Taliban insurgents.

Dunford made the remarks to a small group of reporters in Baghdad after visiting Kabul on Wednesday and Thursday.

During his visit to Afghanistan, Dunford said he here to take the pulse of military operations in advance of the national elections in September.

Moreover, he also met President Ashraf Ghani, where they talked over important issues. Presidential Palace said that President Ghani met US Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunfor, where they discussed counterterrorism efforts, Afghan peace process and other issues of mutual interest between Kabul and Washington.

Moreover, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah also held talks with Dunford, and discussed issues around the Afghan peace process and anti-terror campaign.

The latest valence came as US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khialilzad said he had productive discussion with Afghan leader’s on where they are on the Afghan peace process.

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