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Australian FM Makes Unannounced Visit To Afghanistan

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on January 26 to meet with top officials there, who expressed concerns about the rapid departure of foreign troops from the country.

Bishop met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani who made what Bishop termed a "compelling" case to revise the U.S. deadline for the withdrawal of the remaining foreign troops in Afghanistan by late 2016.

Bishop also met with Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah, Ghani's chief rival in last year's presidential election.

Bishop said the Afghan officials "recognize [U.S.] President [Barack] Obama's timeframe" but feel they need more time to restore order throughout the country.

Bishop said, "We’ve made sacrifices here and we intend to continue to support the Afghan government as it seeks to restore peace and security and stability and ultimately prosperity for the people of Afghanistan."

Bishop also met with Australian troops still serving in Afghanistan.

Based on reporting by and TASS