Afghan Prez assures Kerry of commitment in bringing reforms

Kabul : Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has asserted that restoring long-term peace and stability in the country was among the topmost priorities for him and his CEO Abdullah Abdullah.

“Afghanistan is committed to reforms – we want to show visible gains at the two conferences so our people see change is coming. All Afghans want reform and war against corruption. We have made commitments to our international partners to fight the menace,” Tolo news quoted Ghani as saying during a joint press conference with visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday.

Hailing the US military and financial cooperation to Afghan security forces, Ghani said that the United States Government proved its honesty to structure a strong and capable Afghan security force.

Acknowledging the strategic importance of relations between the US and Afghanistan, Ghani said that both Afghans and Americans had made sacrifices in the country while fighting terrorists over the past several years which outlined common goals.

He said that Afghanistan was committed in fighting corruption and bringing about transparency.

Meanwhile, Kerry, who made an unannounced visit on Saturday to Kabul, also highlighted the importance of bilateral relations between both nations.

Praising both Ghani and Abdullah for what he called good leadership, Kerry said, “The two leaders, despite being rivals in the elections, are united for the sake of the people.”

Kerry said that he held solid discussions with Ghani and Abdullah on a range of issues relating to the two countries including security, war on terrorism, democracy, good governance, electoral reforms and strengthening the Afghan security forces.

Underlining the challenges faced by the current Afghan Government, he said the political faces and people are determined to cope with the issues.

“National Unity Government (NUG) has taken responsibility for security of Afghan nation. I appreciate the Afghan forces who work hard to maintain security,” Kerry said, adding that NUG is moving in the right direction by adopting a reform agenda.

The US Secretary of State once again called on the Taliban hardliners to denounce violence, respect the Constitution and join the peace process.

“I again call on Taliban to join peace process, a process which guarantees equality for all Afghans,” he said.

He said the US is committed to train, help and assist the Afghan security forces in their efforts against terrorism.

Talking about the time frame and duration of the political agreement between Ghani and Abdullah, Kerry said there was no time limit for the agreement and added that it could work for a five-year term.

Referring to the agreement he brokered in the wake of the 2014 disputed presidential elections, Kerry said the agreement between Ghani and Abdullah would not expire.

“US respects existence of opposition in democracy. What occurs in the structure of the NUG depends on Afghans including Ghani and Abdullah,” he added.

Kerry also stated the United States will go with the decision on troops through 2017 on recommendations of General John W. Nicholson.

Kerry arrived in Kabul to ease tensions over Afghan unity pact.

Two explosions hit the diplomatic zone of the capital, shortly after Kerry left following his meetings with Ghani. (ANI)