Obama Calls for Quick Formation of New Afghan Government
WASHINGTON, March 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday urged Afghan leaders to move faster toward forming a new government, days ahead of their planned visit to the White House.
In a video conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah, Obama "encouraged accelerated Afghan progress" in forming an "inclusive" national unity government, the White House said.
A full cabinet is not in place yet despite a power-sharing agreement reached in September last year between Ghani and Abdullah, who are scheduled to meet with Obama on March 24.
Obama expressed his expectation to the Afghan leaders that " their visit to Washington later this month will demonstrate our mutual commitment to a strengthened U.S.-Afghan strategic partnership," the White House said in a statement.
It said the trio also discussed the ongoing efforts by the Afghan security forces to improve security in Afghanistan and the importance of "countering extremist threats" posed by groups like al-Qaida.
Obama applauded the Afghan leaders' initiative in improving relations with Pakistan, a neighbor seen vital to the reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan.
During their upcoming White House meeting, Obama is expected to discuss with the Afghan leaders his planned withdrawal of U.S. troops to accommodate the security situation in Afghanistan.
More than 12,000 NATO-led troops, including some 10,800 Americans, are helping to train and advise Afghan security forces, after the allied forces ended their combat mission at the end of last year.
Under Obama's current drawdown plan, the number of U.S. troops will be reduced to some 5,500 by the end of 2015 and then pulled out altogether by early 2017 with only 1,000 left to provide security for the American embassy in Kabul.
inclusive: adj.包括的，包罗广泛的； 包括…的
reconciliation: n.和解，调停； 一致； 服从，顺从； 和谐
drawdown: n.垂伸； 牵伸