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Ghani govt has to deliver on needed reforms: Tillerson

Ghani govt has to deliver on needed reforms: Tillerson

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Dec 13, 2017 - 10:06

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The Afghan government has to continue to deliver on needed reforms, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday.

“The Afghan government has to ... create the conditions to have an inclusive government that allows for participation of all ethnic groups, including the Talibaninfo-icon,” he said in a town hall with State Department employees.

“When the Taliban are ready to come to the negotiating table, there will be a place for them to participate in a future government,” he said, while highlighting President Trump’s new South Asia policy.

“I think the president took a very bold decision by asserting that we will be in Afghanistaninfo-icon with our military presence and continue to fight terrorism and fight the Taliban on a conditions-based effort. There is no timeline,” he said.

Tillerson made clear the US would take its Afghan mission to the logical conclusion. However, he hastened to explain it was not a blank cheque but they would stay on the ground on support of the Kabulinfo-icon.

He said the policy there in Afghanistan and the region was to deny any safe haven to terrorist organisations, because there were a number of outfits operating in the region.

“Our policy is to deny them the ability to have a safe haven where they can organise, recruit fighters, raise money, plan and carry out attacks against our allies, our own homeland, as we know they did in the past. So the entire policy in South Asia is to achieve that,” Tillerson said.

The goal could be achieved by eliminating the safe havens, encouraging some organisations to talk about how to live and creating the conditions for a reconciliation process in Afghanistan, said the top American diplomat.

Tillerson said Pakistaninfo-icon was still an important and valued partner of the United States. “Over the last decade, the relationship has drifted, and we’ve got to bring this relationship back to one of common interest.”

He said the US was engaged in frank discussions with Pakistanis over the concerns about their own stability and their own future and the threat posed by terrorists operating in their territory.

The two sides are in talks on how they can work together to bring stability and peace to the whole region. “And again, we’ve got a great team working in that region as well. A lot of work left to do,” he concluded.

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