U.S. President Barack Obama urged Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to keep trying to establish peace with the Taliban in a video conference on March 4, the White House said.
Obama "underscored U.S. support for a peace process that reduces violence and ensures lasting stability in Afghanistan and the region," and he noted Ghani's role in "working with Afghanistan's neighbors to deepen regional cooperation and advance the reconciliation process with the Taliban," it said.
Officials from Afghanistan, the United States, Pakistan, and China said after a meeting in Kabul last month that the Afghan government and Taliban were expected to meet for direct peace talks by the first week of March in the Pakistani capital.
No word of such a meeting came during the week, however.
During the video conference, which also included U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Afghan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah, Obama praised the "performance and courage" of Afghan security forces in fighting against "terrorism," according to the Afghan president's office.
“Obama told President Ghani that he is impressed by Afghan national defense and security forces," the office said.