Kabul, October 23: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a previously unannounced visit Iraq, hours after a similar trip to Afghanistan.
In Baghdad, Tillerson was to meet Monday with Iraqi Prime Minister Haida al-Abadi.
Earlier, the top American diplomat discussed the new U.S. strategy for South Asia with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and other senior officials at Bagram airbase, outside of Kabul.
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Tillerson said, “I think the U.S. has made it clear in terms of our support for Afghanistan, support for a sovereign, unified, and democratic Afghanistan, charting a path to peace, prosperity, and self-reliance. It is imperative at the end that we are denying safe haven to any terrorist organizations or any extremists to any part of this world.”
Ghani said the new U.S. strategy brought a positive change in the region and added, “all stakeholders should carry out their responsibilities sincerely,” according to the statement from the presidential palace.
The U.S. and Afghanistan have long alleged that Afghan Taliban, particularly their deadliest arm the Haqqani network, has safe havens in Pakistan. But Islamabad claims it has cleared out all militant safe havens in previously lawless tribal areas bordering Afghanistan through a military operation.