The President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf received defense secretary of the United States Jim Mattis and the high-profile delegation he was joined by, Tuesday afternoon, Presidential Palace.
The two sides conversed about the struggles against terrorism in Afghanistan and the region, security for the upcoming Afghan elections and counter-narcotics efforts particularly demolition of narcotics production and processing facilities in the country.
Welcoming secretary Mattis and his delegation to Afghanistan, President Ghani thanked government of the U.S for extending support and assistance to Afghanistan in several realms of development particularly in rooting terrorism up.
The President said that with the roll-out of the U.S strategy for South Asia and Afghanistan, changes have taken place in the region which allowed further focus to be shifted on the peace process. Therefore, we made a holistic offer of peace negotiations with the Taliban and initiation of peace dialogue with Pakistan on a state-to-state model.
On repatriation of Afghan refugees from Pakistan, the President stated that the Afghan Government is devising a comprehensive and constructive plan which will allow for a smooth return of the Afghan refugees to Afghanistan. He underlined that the return and re-integration of refugees will contribute towards the pursuance of enduring peace and stability in the country.
The President said, “The Afghan Government is committed to making the peace process a success, equally committed are our national Defense and Security Forces to defending our soil and people.”
Secretary Mattis lauded the sacrifices paid and the valiance and salvation evinced by our National Defense and Security Forces in strengthening security and fighting off terrorism. He said that the U.S. supports the offer made by the Afghan Government for peace talks with the Taliban and peace dialogue with Pakistan on a state-to-state mechanism as well as the plan being devised for easy return of the Afghan refugees from Pakistan.
Secretary Mattis added that it is not only the U.S. that has supported the peace offer put forward by the Afghan Government in the second conference of the Kabul Process but that the entire world has supported the mentioned offer which is practical and will lead to establishing enduring peace in Afghanistan. He reaffirmed the commitment of U.S. Government to provide support to the Afghan Government till the very demise of the common enemy (terrorism).
In his turn, Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah also welcomed secretary Mattis and his delegation to Kabul and thanked the U.S. for having provided assistance to Afghanistan in different development fields particularly military.
He pointed out that supporting the peace process and the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces plays a paramount role in achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan.