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Sep 3, 4:38 AM EDT

Afghanistan hosts regional economic forum


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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Afghanistan has opened the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference in the capital, Kabul, where officials from more than 30 nations and 40 international organizations are gathering to discuss the war-torn country's future.

Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai opened the conference Thursday, saying the two-day meeting will examine the challenges of rebuilding Afghanistan after almost 40 years of war.

Amid tight security and road blocks throughout the city, the delegates are debating a range of economic issues, including policy priorities, inter-regional trade, harmonization of customs and border routines, and market expansion.

It is the 6th RECCA conference and the first since President Ashraf Ghani assumed office a year ago pledging to end the 14-year war with the Taliban and reform the economy.

Economists have forecast 2.5 percent growth this year.

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