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Obama speaks to Afghanistan’s leaders ahead of visit

March 12, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama spoke to Afghanistan’s leaders ahead of their visit to the White House later this month.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz says Obama held a videoconference with President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah Thursday before leaving on a trip to California.

Schultz wouldn’t say whether Obama and the Afghan leaders spoke about U.S. troop withdrawals from the country. But Schultz says that will certainly be a topic of conversation at their March 24 meeting.

Schultz says Obama encouraged accelerated Afghan progress toward forming an inclusive unity government. Schultz says the president commended their progress in promoting the peace process in Afghanistan and their efforts to improve relations with Pakistan. Schultz says the leaders also discussed efforts to improve Afghan security and counter the threat from al-Qaida.

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