Australian FM Visits Kabul to Discuss Troop Pullout


KABUL: Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne paid an unexpected visit to Kabul and discussed foreign troops withdrawal, support for a peaceful & prosperous Afghanistan, & mutual aspirations for continuing peace talks during her meeting with President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah.
According to a statement released by Australia’s foreign office, Payne and Abdullah addressed the strides achieved by Afghans over the last 20 years, Australia’s growth and humanitarian aid, and her country’s ongoing mutual contribution to a lasting peace that is genuinely inclusive and includes all of Afghan society during their meeting.
Payne also met with General Scott Miller, the Commander of US Forces in Afghanistan, to negotiate the withdrawal plans, the statement added.
 “With the departure of the Australian Defence Force, the Australia-Afghanistan relationship is beginning a new chapter of our diplomatic relationship, established in 1969.
“We will continue our close friendship, and support our shared aspiration of peace, stability and prosperity. We will continue our development assistance program to work to preserve the significant gains made by the Afghan people, in particular advancing the rights of women and girls,” Payne was quoted as saying.
The Australian’s foreign minister’s visit to Kabul comes as NATO announced full withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan by September 11.