Can Ghani count on Trump?

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US President Donald Trump assured his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani on Monday that the Trump administration would continue to support his reforms and efforts to fight terrorism.

The White House said the two leaders met briefly earlier on Sunday on the margins of the Islamic Summit in Riyadh where Mr Trump introduced his visions on how more than 50 Muslim nations, who attended the conference, could fight terrorism and bring stability to their regions.

“President Trump welcomed President Ghani’s leadership in Afghanistan on fighting terrorism and implementing key reforms. He also commended the brave service of Afghan security forces as they fight to secure their country,” the White House said.

An official US intelligence report, submitted to Congress earlier this month, warned that the war against insurgency in Afghanistan could be lost if the Afghan security forces were not strengthened and if the Kabul government did not implement immediate reforms to improve governance and curb corruption.

The meeting also followed reports in the US media that a US national security team, tasked with preparing a new Afghan policy, has urged Mr Trump to send more troops to Afghanistan to assist the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.

The United States and its allies have about 13,000 troops in Afghanistan, includes around 8,400 American soldiers, and the reports claimed that Mr Trump was willing to send 5,000 more troops. America’s Nato allies are also considering a US request to send at least 2,000 additional troops.

Afghan officials in Kabul had said earlier that President Ghani would discuss the proposed new US policy for Afghanistan when the two leaders meet.

www.dawn.com

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