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Ghani seeks flexibility in US troop drawdown timeline

Ghani seeks flexibility in US troop drawdown timeline

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Mar 19, 2015 - 11:14

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The visit of top Afghan leaders later this month and they being hosted at Camp David shows the significance the Obama administration attaches to the bilateral relationship, a senior US official said on Wednesday.

During their maiden visit to the US in their present capacity, President Ashraf Ghani and the CEO Dr Abdullah would be hosted by President Barack Obama at the White House and the secretary of state at Camp David.

"The trip is just an indication of how important the relationship is and how committed we are to the future of Afghanistaninfo-icon," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news briefing.

"It is an opportunity to have discussions about a range of issues, including our strategic, security, diplomatic and economic relationships," she said.

Responding to questions, Psaki said Obama and Ghani had had regular discussions on security transition and the reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

"President Ghani has requested some flexibility in the troop drawdown timeline and base closure sequencing over the next two years, and we’re actively considering this request," she added. 

Top US military commander Gen Campbell has developed recommendations to enhance the training, advising and assisting of the Afghan National Security Forces and maintenance of appropriate counterterrorism capabilities. 

With discussions ongoing, no decisions have been made so far. “Next week is an opportunity to continue to have discussions," the spokeswoman said.

Psaki said the nascent presence of the Islamic State in Afghanistan represented a rebranding of a few marginalised Talibaninfo-icon. "But we’re still taking this potential threat with its dangerous rhetoric seriously.  We’re working closely with the Afghan government to evaluate the dynamic nature of this fledgling network."

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