US President Barack Obama has emphasised that the US supports a peace process that would ensures lasting stability in Afghanistan and the region during a video conference call with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday, the White House statement said.
According to the statement, both leaders expressed their intentions to use the upcoming NATO summit in the Polish capital Warsaw and the EU-hosted Ministerial in Brussels as forums to reaffirm international support for Afghanistan’s peace and stability.
President Obama also noted his counterpart’s leadership in working with Afghanistan neighbours "to deepen regional cooperation and advance the reconciliation process with the Taliban," the White House statement said.
Obama and Ghani "recommitted" to consult regularly this year, as the US continues to support Afghanistan’s efforts "to strengthen governance and provide security for its people."
The first peace talks between Afghanistan and the Taliban officially started on July 7 last year in Pakistan. The second round of the talks, which were planned for July 31, had to be delayed indefinitely following the announcement of Taliban leader Mullah Abdullah’s death. Last December, the Fourth Quadrilateral Coordination Group, including the US, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan announced to hold landmark peace talks earlier this month. However, the Taliban showed reluctance.
“For the talks to commence, the ‘invaders’ [US/ NATO soldiers] should leave the country and give the Afghan people [an] opportunity to determine their fate themselves,” the Afghan Taliban said recently.
Taliban’s precondition was aimed to dismantle the present Kabul government to establish a new interim set-up.
However, the Afghan government has been pushing for peace talks without any such preconditions.