VP lists new year's challenges for govt
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (PAN): First vice president Karim Khalili on Monday said the Afghan government was going to embrace two big challenges in the new year: reconciliation with Taliban and gradual withdrawal of foreign troops.
Khalili attended the traditional Janda Bala, or flag-raising, which took place in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, on Monday, a ceremony that traditionally marks the start of the new Afghan year.
Parliamentarians, officials from the consulates of neighbouring countries, guests from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as hundreds of visitors from across the country took part in the ceremony.
"President Hamid Karzai will give a detailed briefing on the transition of security to an Afghan-led force on Tuesday," Khalili said.
The main challenge would be for the government to make the peace process a success, he said, calling on individuals involved in the process to be sincere in their efforts at reintegrating Taliban members.
Balkhgovernor Atta Mohammad Noor said they were supportive of the Burhanuddin Rabbani-led High Peace Council.
Asked about permanent US military bases in Afghanistan, Noor said what the country needed was economic development to enable it to stand on its feet.
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