The US Secretary of Defense Shanahan, that arrived unannounced, seemingly to discuss peace talks as well as the prospects for Western presence in the area treated with a surprise visit officials.
“It’s essential that the Afghan government is involved in talks regarding Afghanistan,” Shanahan told reporters accompanying him, as cited by Reuters.
Acting Defense Secretary arrives in Resolute Support to an announced visit to satisfy the mind of US forces in Afghanistan and afterwards Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Comes amid a U.S. drive for peace talks with the Taliban. pic.twitter.com/xGpuzqtUD2
— Idrees Ali (@idreesali114) February 11, 2019
Shanahan’s coming from the south-west country comes amid continuing discussions about how to reduce US troops’ presence . In December, the Trump administration ordered the military to begin inventing plans to withdraw about seven,000 personnel from Afghanistan in the coming months. A US delegation has been engaged in discussions.
The US has also been calling for immediate talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government — especially once Moscow hosted a seminar of high profile Afghan delegates, which included Taliban agents but lacked officials from Kabul, who opted to boycott the talks.
After almost 18 years after US-led war in Afghanistan, the acting Pentagon chief, who briefly took over after James Mattis resigned over Trump’s determination to pull out of Syria, said that Afghanis must decide they potential on”their own” — including how to manage the Taliban.
Aside from talking with Afghan government officials, Shanahan can be expected to meet US troops and commanders on the ground during his first overseas trip in a formal capacity. But he told reportershe has no specific education from the government about any portion of their American troop presence in Afghanistan from the current 14,000 soldiers.
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