Patrick Shanahan, the performing secretary of defence, has arrived in Afghanistan on an unannounced bid over with amid a push by the usa to barter peace with the Taliban. 

Shanahan will meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, whose government used to be now no longer segment of main talks between the US and Taliban officials last month that officials hope would possibly maybe well well lift a step forward within the 17-365 days conflict.

“It is obligatory that the Afghan government is eager about discussions regarding Afghanistan,” Shanahan informed a little neighborhood of journalists travelling with him on the shock outing on Monday.

The performing Pentagon chief said Washington has distinguished security interests within the pickle and wished to listen to from the commanders on the ground.

Shanahan modified Jim Mattis, who quit in December over coverage variations with US President Donald Trump. 

The Taliban has refused to barter straight with Ghani’s government, calling it a “puppet” of the West. But Ghani’s allies in Washington whine Afghans would possibly maybe well well goal serene lead the peace course of.

Kabul is also eager that a pointy withdrawal of the nearly about 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan would possibly maybe well well lead to chaos within the pickle. 

The Taliban wants all American troops withdrawn, and officials snarl that is on the stop of the armed neighborhood’s listing of demands in exploratory talks. 

Shanahan, who would possibly maybe well also meet US commanders, informed journalists he needed thus a long way now no longer bought any path to lower troops in Afghanistan. 

‘Reality-discovering mission’

Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtley, reporting from Kabul, said Shanahan’s outing used to be “a reality-discovering mission”. 

“His views on Afghanistan are now no longer widely identified, and he is predicted to form them identified after this bid over with,” Birtley added. “His feedback on Afghan government’s involvement in peace talks is obligatory for the government on story of they in actuality feel sidelined by the US-led talks.”

Zalmay Khalilzad, the Trump administration’s particular envoy for Afghan peace talks, said on Friday that even though peace talks with the Taliban are in an early stage, he hopes a deal would possibly maybe well well even be made by July.

That’s when Afghanistan is scheduled to make a choice a presidential election.

Since being appointed last September because the US particular handbook for Afghan reconciliation, Khalilzad has applied an expansion of rounds of talks with the Taliban and completely different regional representatives in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, India, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. 

The US envoy’s most latest talks had been in Doha behind last month where the 2 facets met for six days.

Washington wants assurances that Afghanistan is now no longer going to harbour teams that would possibly maybe well well exercise the nation as a wicked to delivery assaults on the US. 

The next round of talks is due in Qatar on February 25.

In December, there were alternative reviews thatTrump planned to halve the selection of US forces in Afghanistan. In his Suppose of the Union take care of last week, the US president said any troop pullout would possibly maybe well well be linked to progress in peace talks. 

Overall Joseph Votel, the commander of US Central Expose, exhibiting before Congress last week, provided a largely optimistic note of Afghanistan, announcing the most fresh manoeuvring between the US and Taliban negotiators is “our first real opportunity for peace and reconciliation since the war began”.

Votel eminent that the Taliban are serene optimistic of inflicting essential casualties on Afghan government forces.

Honest last week, Taliban fighters killed some two dozen Afghan troops in an attack on an military wicked in northern Kunduz province.

As well to combating the Taliban, the US and coalition forces in Afghanistan are focussed on an affiliate of theIslamic Suppose of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS), identified as ISIS-Khorasan, created from foreign fighters largely from Pakistan.


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