x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Afghan strategy to be revised

Afghanistan to join a major US review underway into the "war on terror", amid concerns about an increase in extremism.

Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai, right, speaks during a news conference with the US special representative Richard Holbrooke in Kabul.
Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai, right, speaks during a news conference with the US special representative Richard Holbrooke in Kabul.

Afghanistan will join a major US review underway into the "war on terror", the president Hamid Karzai and the US envoy Richard Holbrooke announced today amid concerns about an increase in extremism. Kabul will send a delegation to Washington headed by the foreign minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta to take part in the reassessment, they said after talks late yesterday. The US president Barack Obama ordered the review over concerns about an increase in extremist unrest in the region seven years after the US-led "war on terror" was launched with an invasion that ousted the Taliban regime.

Mr Karzai said he had asked Mr Obama by letter for Afghanistan to have a role in the reassessment, and that Mr Holbrooke had brought word that this had been accepted. "I am very, very thankful that president Obama has accepted my proposal of Afghanistan joining the strategic review of the war against terrorism in the United States," he said. The Afghan delegation "will be working jointly with the US government in the review of the strategy in the war on terrorism," he said.

Mr Karzai did not give details of his talks with Mr Holbrooke but said they had held "very detailed and fruitful discussions in a very sincere, friendly and frank manner." Mr Holbrooke arrived late on Thursday and met with a range of Afghan officials and politicians, international military commanders and diplomats before holding talks with Mr Karzai. He said his visit was intended to "reaffirm America's commitment to the effort in Afghanistan against the Taliban and al Qa'eda".

"We have come here to listen and to hear your points of view," he said. The envoy has held similar wide-ranging meetings in Pakistan and is due to continue his tour of the region in India. * AFP