Acting Pentagon Chief Arrives in Afghanistan for Unannounced Visit
By Staff, News Agencies
Acting war secretary of the United States Patrick Shanahan has arrived in Afghanistan on Monday with a surprise visit.
Patrick Shanahan arrived in Afghanistan on Monday with an unannounced visit, in order to meet with the US military command and the Afghan authorities amid peace talks with the Taliban movement, Associated Press reported.
The acting war chief said that the United States has important security interests in the region and wanted to hear from commanders on the ground.
He said he has no orders to reduce the US troop presence, although officials say that is at the top of the Taliban's list of demands in exploratory peace negotiations.
Shanahan said he is encouraged that President Donald Trump's administration is exploring all possibilities for ending a 17-year war, the longest in American history.
But he stressed that peace terms are for the Afghans to decide. Thus far the Taliban have refused to negotiate with the government of President Ashraf Ghani, calling it illegitimate. Washington is trying to break that impasse.
"The Afghans have to decide what Afghanistan looks like. It's not about the US, it's about Afghanistan," Shanahan told reporters traveling with him from Washington.
This is Shanahan's first visit to Afghanistan since he assumed the post of the acting US Secretary of War.