Washington will not interfere in Afghanistan’s upcoming presidential election nor will it support any of the candidates directly, the US Secretary of State on Tuesday told Afghan officials in Kabul.

In a meeting behind closed doors at the US Embassy in Kabul, Secretary John Kerry met with a number of top Afghan officials, MPs, political parties and the international community, some of whom told TOLOnews that they welcomed his reassurance of the US impartiality and support for a fair and transparent election.

“The United Sates Secretary of State once again pledged that his country will support Afghanistan’s democratic election process. As well he promised that the Unites States will never intervene in the internal affairs of the election and does not support any specific candidate. He said this is the right of Afghans to have a transparent, secure and broad election, and the Unites States supports a transparent election,” MP Shukria Barakzai told TOLOnews.

Among those present at the meeting were education minister Farooq Wardak, deputy adviser to National Security Council Rahmatullah Nabil, member of National Coalition Mohammad Yunos Qanooni, head of Independent Elections Commission’s secretariat Ziaulhaq Amerkhel, parliamentary first vice speaker Mirwais Yassini, MP Shukria Barikzai, and Afghan Human Rights commissioner Nader Naderi.

The importance of a transparent, fair, and inclusive election in Afghanistan was said to be a key topic of talks between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the US Secretary of State during his two-day visit to Kabul.

Before leaving Kabul, Kerry also visited an exhibition at the US Embassy which showcased products of businesses run by Afghan women – from traditional clothes and hand crafts to dry fruits.

Some of the women traders were present and spoke to Kerry of the need for more access to international markets and funding sources, both of which are the main challenges for the women-owned business.

Kerry assured that the US will assist in ways to improve growth of these investments.

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