British PM Cameron arrives in Kabul on unannounced visit

3rd October 2014, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived in Kabul Friday on an unannounced visit, becoming the first world leader to hold talks with newly-inaugurated President Ashraf Ghani, officials said.

Ghani was inaugurated on Monday to lead Afghanistan as most NATO troops leave the country by December after 13 years of fighting the Islamist insurgency that erupted after the Taliban regime was ousted in 2001.

Ghani was elected in a fraud-tainted election in June that plunged Afghanistan into months of bitter disputes.

In a US-brokered deal, he signed a power-sharing agreement with his former poll rival Abdullah Abdullah, who was sworn in to the new position of "chief executive".

The presidential palace and the British embassy confirmed that the visit had started, and talks were under way.

The British army has wound down its presence in the volatile southern province of Helmand after years of heavy fighting in some areas where the Taliban has launched fresh offensives in recent weeks.

Britain still has 3,900 troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

ISAF will complete its combat mission at the end of this year, with a follow-up mission taking over in 2015 on training and support duties assisting the Afghan army and police.

British contribution on the follow-up mission will be at an army officers' training academy outside Kabul.

bgs/pdh


© 2014 AFP

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