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Afghan journalist in presidential delegation tests positive for COVID-19

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By Reuters
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WASHINGTON – A press videographer who was traveling with President Ashraf Ghani’s delegation tested positive for COVID-19, according to a notification released by Congress’s Office of Attending Physician on Friday.

Ghani is in Washington this week for a round of meetings with U.S. President Joe Biden and congressional leaders, as the last U.S. troops prepare to leave Afghanistan.

The videographer was not inside the meeting with congressional leaders, but had attended a photo op by Ghani and the House of Representatives’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a source familiar with the situation said.

“It was our understanding that everybody in the delegation was vaccinated,” the source said.

The U.S. military has completed more than half of its withdrawal from Afghanistan and is set to finish within weeks.

Fighting between U.S. troops and the Taliban have escalated since April, when Biden announced the withdrawal. The Pentagon estimates the Taliban now controls 81 of Afghanistan’s 419 district centers.

Lawmakers have expressed concern about how women will be treated if the Taliban seizes control after the U.S. troop withdrawal.

“We look forward to having a conversation about how we strengthen our relationship through humanitarian assistance,” U.S. House of Representatives’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in remarks before the meeting.

Between 600 and 700 troops are likely to remain in the country to provide security for diplomats, officials say.

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