World Bulletin / News Desk
Leading a U.S. delegation, Pence met President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani at the Arg (Presidential Palace) late on Thursday, and the two sides discussed issues related to security, democratic process and economy in line with the new U.S. strategy announced by President Donald Trump in August.
Pence is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the country since Trump announced his new strategy on Afghanistan and South Asia and committed several thousand more US troops to the 16-year Afghan mission.
According to a statement issued by the Arg, Pence hailed the bravery of the Afghan security forces and the government in the areas of anti-corruption, the peace process, regional cooperation and good governance.
Pence and Ghani were accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan John R. Bass and Resolute Support and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan Commander General John W. Nicholson, Jr.
A statement from the U.S. embassy in Kabul said the two sides also focused on peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, the need for the Afghan government's progress on reforms, and the importance of preparing for timely parliamentary and presidential elections.
Pence also addressed American troops at Bagram Airfield: “The U.S. armed forces are the world’s greatest force for good; it’s because of you freedom has a future in Afghanistan, in the U.S and all over the wider world.” He added: "I believe victory is closer than ever before."
Highlighting the government's achievements in bringing reforms on various fronts, Ghani told the visiting U.S. dignitary that ties between Kabul and Washington were based on mutual interests and strategy, and have strengthened.
Pence also issued a stern warning to Afghanistan's neighbor Pakistan for allegedly harboring terrorists.
“Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with the United States, and Pakistan has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists," Pence said while addressing U.S. troops.