KABUL – The United States Vice President Mike Pence promised to provide more support to Afghanistan during a surprise visit to Kabul on Thursday night, where he met with Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani.
“Vice-President Pence expressed his gratitude for the warm reception, and reaffirmed that the US will continue and further enhance its support to the government and people of Afghanistan,” the Afghan Presidential Palace said in a statement.
Pence referred to the areas of economic development and efforts to achieve peace and stability in the country in particular.
Ghani applauded the new US strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia, according to which the US in September added 3,000 personnel to the contingent of 8,400 troops already stationed there as part of the NATO training operation and anti-terrorist tasks.
According to Ghani, the plan is an opportunity for peace and stability in Afghanistan, a key to the development of the whole region.
“The two sides stressed that 2017 has been a year full of achievements in terms of developing the security and defense sectors and focused counter-narcotics efforts,” the statement said.
Both Washington and Kabul agreed on “the need for timely parliamentary and presidential elections,” scheduled for 2018 and 2019, respectively, after the 2014 general elections suffered delays and accusations of fraud.
Pence’s visit lasted seven and a half hours, according to US journalists who covered his surprise visit.
Since the end of the NATO combat mission in January 2015, the Kabul government has been losing ground to the Taliban, which launches major attacks and offensives regularly.