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Peace Talks Surest Way to End Violence: US

Patrick Ventrell

WASHINGTON – Peace and reconciliation is the surest way to end violence in Afghanistan, the US said on Monday, throwing its weight behind the Afghan-led process. “So we continue to have the objective of Afghans sitting down with Afghans to determine the future of their country,” State Department spokesman told reporters at his daily news conference.

Patrick Ventrell said: “Obviously we want those who are combatants or who are opposing the legitimate Afghan government to lay down their arms and participate politically and through the Afghan constitution.” The United States, he added, had helped increased the capacity of Afghan security forces to fight insurgents, transitioning to an Afghan security lead and building an enduring partnership with Afghanistan.

“We now have Afghan forces leading nearly 90 percent of operations across the country. We’ve signed the Strategic Partnership Agreement. We’re negotiating a new bilateral security agreement,” he said. The spokesman said the two sides were working on preparations for a free, inclusive and transparent presidential election in 2014. “So we really stand behind the record of the progress we’ve made in Afghanistan,” Ventrell concluded. (PAN)

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