Stop aiding rebels, US tells Afghanistan’s neighbours

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US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan C Crocker on Monday said Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries should thoroughly study the strategic deal and stop supporting insurgents. Addressing a news conference in Jalalabad, the top US diplomat stressed Afghanistan’s neighbours had to sever ties with rebel groups, including the Haqqanis. He promised the US would remain committed to a long-term partnership with Afghanistan, revealing the strategic pact could be renewed after 2024. About recent civilian deaths in NATO-led airstrikes, he said there had been a decline in such incidents and they were doing their bit to avoid collateral in counterinsurgency operations. The six-month deadline set for transferring prisons across the country to Afghan control had expired, said Crocker. “I am confident Afghan forces will soon have the ability of conducting unilateral operations.” Also present on the occasion was Nangarhar Governor Gul Agha Sherzai, who said he had discussed with Crocker issues concerning security, good governance, economic development, peace and security transition. Establishment of industrial parks, assistance from the US provincial reconstruction team and problems on the Kabul-Jalalabad Highway also came under discussion, Sherzai concluded.