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    Kerry prefers peaceful resolution to Afghan conflict

    WASHINGTON (PAN): New US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday said he preferred a peaceful resolution to the 11-year-old Afghan conflict, but his country would not hesitate to use "extreme measures" to protect the Americans.

    “I make clear today to those listening, while my preference is for a peaceful resolution to conflict, my journey has also taught me that when remedies are exhausted, we must be prepared to defend our cause and do what is necessary to stand up to extremism, terrorism, chaos, and evil,” Kerry said in his remarks after officially swearing in at a public function in the State Department.

    Kerry, after being sworn in as Secretary of State, by Vice-President Joe Biden, said US officials had to prefer a peaceful conflict resolution as helping others was helping themselves.

    Biden said the US was in the process of turning the page on the 11-year-old conflict. “We responsibly are drawing down in Afghanistan. And by the end of next year, the transition to Afghan responsibility will be complete,” he said.

     “It takes a person who knows that negotiations are always preferable to war, but sometimes nations are offered no real choice,” Biden said.

    Earlier in the day, Kerry joined a town hall meeting with US Embassy in Kabul via video conference. “He thanked the staff for their service, reaffirming US support for a strong, secure Afghanistan and for a strong US mission to Afghanistan as they moved through the security transition there, according the State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland.

     “He also acknowledged some of the challenging circumstances in which they work, and that it takes special kind of people to commit themselves, and that he appreciated very much how personally committed each of them is to a strong, stable, and secure Afghanistan,” she told reporters at her daily news conference.

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