Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spent an unannounced visit to Afghanistan outlining elements of a peace strategy he says the Trump administration will commit to, on a conditional basis.
Meanwhile on Monday, Tillerson visited Kabul and met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah and national security advisor Hanif Atmar, the Tolo News reports.
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Tillerson said the site of America's longest war was key to denying terrorists refuge and that the Trump administration was committed to forging a democratic, unified Afghanistan through a regional approach. Two other positive development's hold out the possibility of a change in direction for the better: the death by drone inside Afghanistan of the notorious militant Omar Khalid Khorasani, the mastermind of the December 2014 Peshawar school massacre, and the rescue, also last week, of the kidnapped US-Canadian couple by Pakistani forces inside Pakistani territory.
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"It will be based upon whether they take action that we feel is necessary to move the process forward for both creating opportunity for reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan but also ensuring a stable future Pakistan", he said. On Thursday the Central Intelligence Agency chief played the new, or partly new, record before a think tank: the United States wants the Taliban to negotiate peace, but only after they are diminished militarily, and for this to happen, it is essential that Pakistan cooperate by denying the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network their alleged safe havens across the Durand Line. He added that the US was as concerned about the future stability of Pakistan as it is in many respects in Afghanistan.
He praised Ghani for his reform efforts, notably to curb corruption, and to prepare for parliamentary elections next year. He had slipped out of Qatar in the pre-dawn hours and flew a gray C-17 military plane to Bagram, jettisoning his public schedule, which had him meeting with staffers at the U.S. Embassy in Doha.
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