Meanwhile, the Afghan foreign minister said Kabul will work ‘vigorously’ to seek peace with Taliban insurgents.
The top American diplomat did not specify the setbacks, but there have been a series of deadly attacks on US-led NATO forces by their Afghan counterparts recently.
Clinton made the remarks in Washington alongside Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul, as the two launched the US-Afghan Bilateral Commission. Rassoul said his country is fully committed to ‘shared sacrifices’ and taking on the challenges ahead. The bilateral commission will implement the strategic partnership agreement signed by the United States and Afghanistan in May of this year.
The strategic deal outlines the future relationship between the two countries, as US combat troops complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The agreement covers cooperation in the areas of security, economic development and governance. It does not commit the US to any specific troop presence, but pledges American aid for Afghanistan for at least a decade after international combat troops leave the country. An unspecified number of U.S. military personnel are expected to remain in Afghanistan to continue training and advising Afghan security forces.
Clinton said US Deputy Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan James Warlick will lead the negotiations on the American side. Rassoul noted that Afghan Ambassador to the US Eklil Hakimi will lead the process on Afghanistan’s behalf.
AFP adds: Afghanistan will work ‘vigorously’ to seek peace with Taliban insurgents, Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul vowed Wednesday at the launch of new body set up to steer ties with the US.
Rassoul vowed “negotiating a comprehensive bilateral security agreement between our two countries of satisfaction to both sides is of paramount importance.” And he stressed: “We will continue to pursue the peace process vigorously. This is the just and deserving right of the Afghan people and the surest path to ending the cycle of violence in Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan is fully committed to building on our shared sacrifice of the last decade, delivering results and taking on the challenges ahead.”
Contacts in recent years between the Taliban and the West designed to avert civil war once NATO combat troops leave Afghanistan have yet to yield a concrete agreement.
Nascent contacts between the Taliban, the Afghan government and the United States earlier this year in Qatar were suspended after a deal to exchange Taliban prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay fell apart.