AP INTERVIEW: Peace chief says Afghan gov’t must step up

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan’s chief peace negotiator says the often fractured Afghan political leadership must unify in its peace talks with the Taliban or risk the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops bringing more bitter fighting. Abdullah Abdullah, head of Afghanistan’s National Reconciliation Council, said in an interview with The Associated Press on Saturday that the time is now for Afghanistan’s political leaders to stand united in peace talks with the Taliban. Some of them are former warlords with fierce reputations, heavily armed militias and deep seated grudges. He warned that history and millions of Afghans — already frustrated by what they see as government ineptitude and runaway corruption — will judge them harshly if unity eludes the powerful leaders now in Kabul.