Australian FM meets with Ghani and Abdullah in Kabul
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne has paid an unannounced visit to Kabul where she met with President Ashraf Ghani and High Council for National Reconciliation Chairman Abdullah Abdullah.
Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_In a statement issued by Australia’s foreign office, Payne said she discussed the challenges of COVID-19, the foreign troop withdrawal, support for a stable and secure Afghanistan, and the shared hopes for ongoing peace talks.
“I was also pleased to meet with the Minister for ’s_Affairs, Hasina Safi, who joined our meeting, and to discuss how Australia and Afghanistan have worked together to support and improve the rights of women and girls – a development we want to see maintained,” she said.
Payne also stated that in her meeting with Abdullah, they discussed the gains made by the people of Afghanistan over the past 20 years, the development and humanitarian assistance provided by Australia and her country’s enduring shared commitment to a sustainable peace that is genuinely inclusive and involves all of Afghan society.
“During these meetings, we discussed the sacrifices made by the Afghan people, as well as those international military forces killed or wounded, including those Australians who made the ultimate sacrifice and the many who still bear the impacts of their service in Afghanistan both physical and mental.
“We discussed the recent Inspector-General report, Australia’s robust response, and the establishment of the Office of the Special Investigator,” she said.
Payne also stated she had met with the Commander of US Forces in Afghanistan, General Scott , to discuss the withdrawal plans.
“I was also proud to spend time with staff and Defence Force personnel to acknowledge their significant contributions to the Australia-Afghanistan relationship,” she said.
In conclusion, Payne stated: “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.”