March 7, 2019 / 5:16 PM / 4 months ago

Afghan president supported start of U.S.-Taliban talks: U.S. general

FILE PHOTO: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan July 15, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail/Files

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Afghan President Ashraf Ghani supported the initiation of peace talks between the United States and the Taliban despite his public concerns, a top U.S. general said on Thursday.

“It is my observation, from my close discussions with (U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad) that he is in fact consulting with President Ghani on a regular basis, keeping him well informed and that the actual initiation of these discussions was done with President Ghani’s knowledge and support,” U.S. Army General Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. Central Command, said during a House Armed Services Committee hearing.

Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart in Washington; Editing by James Dalgleish

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