United Kingdom

Foreign minister Marise Payne secretly flies into Afghanistan to discuss withdrawal of Aussie troops

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has flown into Afghanistan for a brief visit to discuss the withdrawal of Australian troops and hopes for ongoing peace in the war-torn country.

Senator Payne also discussed the handling of alleged war crimes committed by Australian troops during a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

She described the planned departure of Australian troops later this year as 'beginning a new chapter' in the relationship.

Senator Payne (pictured at the G7 in London on May 5) also discussed the handling of alleged war crimes committed by Australian troops during a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Her confidential visit came after powerful explosions outside a high school in Kabul on Saturday killed at least 50 people (pictured, the mass funeral on Sunday)

'We will continue our close friendship, and support our shared aspiration of peace, stability and prosperity,' Senator Payne said in a statement on Monday.

'We will continue our development assistance program to work to preserve the significant gains made by the Afghan people, in particular advancing the rights of women and girls.'

Her confidential visit came after powerful explosions outside a high school in Kabul on Saturday killed at least 50 people and wounded scores more, many of them teenage girls leaving class.

Mr Ghani has blamed the bombings on Taliban insurgents.

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