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Afghanistan's Ghani walks tightrope over US, Pakistan ties

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, seen on the stage at Columbia University in New York, on March 26, 2015In pursuing rapprochement with Pakistan and the United States, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is the very antithesis of his fiery predecessor, but his unprecedented diplomatic overtures have prompted rumblings of unease back home. Since coming to power in September, Ghani has sought to jumpstart long-stalled negotiations with the Taliban for a peace agreement 13 years after they were toppled in a US-led invasion. Ghani has courted Washington to slow the drawdown of US troops and longtime nemesis Pakistan, which has historically backed the Taliban, in what observers say is a calculated gambit to pressure the insurgents to the negotiating table. Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, well known for his anti-US and anti-Pakistan tirades, and others have warned strongly against Afghanistan’s tilt towards Islamabad — often accused of playing a “double game” and covertly nurturing the Taliban.

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