Top NATO officials visit Afghanistan

By Shadi Khan Saif

KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – NATO chief Gen. Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday visited the Afghan capital Kabul amid renewed push for peaceful settlement of the conflict in the country.

The NATO secretary general is flanked by the Chairman of the Military Committee Air Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, and Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti.

In a statement, the alliance said Stoltenberg will meet with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, and other Afghan ministers and senior officials, as well as with representatives of Afghan civil society.

The Secretary General will also meet with the Resolute Support Commander Gen. Austin Scott Miller, NATO's Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan Ambassador Cornelius Zimmermann and with troops contributing to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission.

The Afghan government has announced to form a national consultative board for expediting peace efforts.

Shah Hussain Murtazavi, spokesman for the president, told the local Azadi radio that representatives of the civil society and religious leaders from all 34 provinces have been invited to come and meet the technical team for peace talks in Kabul.

This is in line with the U.S. Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad’s call on the Afghan government and the Taliban to come up with authorized teams of negotiators for peace talks.