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President Ghani: Peace initiatives with Pakistan not successful

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday said the peace initiatives taken by Afghanistan with Pakistan are not successful as Pakistan differentiates between good and bad terrorists “in practice”.

“Our regional initiatives with neighbours are beginning to yield significant cooperative dividends. However, the exception is with Pakistan,” the Afghan president said during his speech on second day of Nato summit.

President Ghani added that despite clear commitments to the quadrilateral peace process, “Pakistan’s dangerous distinction between good and bad terrorists is being maintained in practice.”

“The key problem among our neighboring states is an absence of agreed rules of the game, thus we seek regional and global support in creating those rules, which will bind us to collective security and harmony,” said Ghani.

The Afghan president maintained that the world leaders should understand that Afghanistan is facing a multi-dimensional conflict and is fighting all sorts of groups “ranging from Al-Qaeda and Daesh to terrorist groups with Central Asian, Chinese, and Russian origins, to Pakistani groups classified as terrorists by Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban groups”.

NATO pledges troops, funds to maintain Afghanistan mission until 2020

NATO agreed Saturday to maintain troop numbers in Afghanistan and reiterated a funding pledge for local security forces through 2020 but could not say when its longest military engagement might end.

“There’s no reason to speculate exactly on how long it will continue. What we have seen is we are committed and we are ready to stay,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said of a war which has dragged on since 2001.

Afghan security forces, who took full control of their country’s security in 2015, have struggled to contain a resurgent Taliban, as well as attacks from Al-Qaeda and Islamic State jihadis.

NATO will keep troops in Afghanistan through 2017 under its train and advise Resolute Support Mission, Stoltenberg said.

The 28-nation US-led alliance would look at the situation again next year, Stoltenberg said.

The NATO mission in Afghanistan costs about $5 billion a year (4.5 billion euros), with approximately $3.5 billion coming from the United States.

Stoltenberg said other allies had “nearly” gathered about $1 billion for next year.

In return for its continued support, NATO is demanding reforms of the Afghan security forces, which are grappling with deeply entrenched corruption and human rights issues.

US President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced plans to slow the draw down of US troops from Afghanistan.

Obama had previously vowed to slash troop numbers from the current 9,800 to 5,500 by the end of this year, but on Wednesday said the US would now keep 8,400 US troops in Afghanistan.

Stoltenberg did not provide NATO numbers but said the overall force would be “around the same” as now.

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