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Tue, Apr

US welcomes better Afghan-Pak ties prospect

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The United States has welcomed the prospect of better bilateral ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan following the Pakistan Army Chief’s visit to Kabul this week.

“Yes, we welcome the prospect of improved cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” a State Department official told Pajhwok Afghan News in response to a question on the latest visit of Gen. Raheel Sharif wherein Pakistan offered to train Afghan armed forces.The Pentagon, however, refrained from making any comment. “I think that's something that the Afghan government needs to speak to, the degree to which they find that helpful,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said. “I mean, we've said all along, Pakistan's a key partner in the region. Any opportunity that can be had to increase cooperation and coordination with the Pakistani military is a good thing, but I wouldn't comment here from the Pentagon on that proposal. In fact, I have not seen reports of that proposal,” Kirby told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.Kirby said the US mission was going to change in Afghanistan by the end of the year and it would be more of a train, advise and assist mission under NATO auspices. “We are working closely with our NATO allies on the sourcing for that,” he said.“We know for the United States, it begins at about 9,800 troops early next year, and then that will taper off over time as the training concludes. But there will still need to be a significant international commitment to training and advising Afghan National Security Forces post 2014. And there are many nations involved in that effort, primarily through NATO auspices,” Kirby said.