Obama discusses Taliban peace talks with Afghan president: White House

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani depart a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington March 24, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama, during a video conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday, noted Ghani’s role in “working with Afghanistan’s neighbors to deepen regional cooperation and advance the reconciliation process with the Taliban,” the White House said.

Obama also “underscored U.S. support for a peace process that reduces violence and ensures lasting stability in Afghanistan and the region,” the White House said in a statement.

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.

Reporting by Eric Walsh; Editing by Mohammad Zargham