Performing Pentagon chief makes unannounced Afghanistan time out –

Patrick Shanahan, the acting secretary of defence, has arrived in Afghanistan on an unannounced discuss over with amid a push by the United States to negotiate peace with the Taliban

Shanahan will meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, whose authorities used to be now not fragment of predominant talks between the US and Taliban officers final month that officers hope would perchance bring a breakthrough in the 17-Three hundred and sixty five days battle.

“It is a long way wanted that the Afghan authorities is all in favour of discussions relating to Afghanistan,” Shanahan urged a limited community of reporters travelling with him on the surprise time out on Monday.

The acting Pentagon chief acknowledged Washington has critical security pursuits in the jam and desired to listen to from the commanders on the bottom.

Shanahan replaced Jim Mattis, who quit in December over policy differences with US President Donald Trump

The Taliban has refused to negotiate presently with Ghani’s authorities, calling it a “puppet” of the West. Nonetheless Ghani’s allies in Washington articulate Afghans will occupy to lead the peace direction of.

Kabul is additionally enthusiastic that a piquant withdrawal of the nearly 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan would perchance result in chaos in the jam. 

The Taliban needs all American troops withdrawn, and officers reveal that is at the live of the armed community’s checklist of calls for in exploratory talks. 

Shanahan, who will additionally meet US commanders, urged reporters he needed so a long way now not got any direction to diminish troops in Afghanistan. 

‘Fact-finding mission’

Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtley, reporting from Kabul, acknowledged Shanahan’s time out used to be “a fact-finding mission”. 

“His views on Afghanistan are now not extensively identified, and he’s expected to keep them identified after this discuss over with,” Birtley added. “His comments on Afghan authorities’s involvement in peace talks is wanted for the authorities due to they if fact be told feel sidelined by the US-led talks.”

Zalmay Khalilzad, the Trump administration’s special envoy for Afghan peace talks, acknowledged on Friday that even though peace talks with the Taliban are in an early stage, he hopes a deal would perchance also additionally be made by July.

That is when Afghanistan is scheduled to determine a presidential election.

Since being appointed final September because the US special representative for Afghan reconciliation, Khalilzad has implemented a sequence of rounds of talks with the Taliban and other regional representatives in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, India, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. 

The US envoy’s most modern talks had been in Doha late final month the put the two facets met for six days.

Washington needs assurances that Afghanistan will now not harbour teams that would perchance employ the nation as a bad to begin assaults on the US. 

The subsequent spherical of talks is due in Qatar on February 25.

In December, there had been hundreds of experiences that Trump deliberate to halve the sequence of US forces in Afghanistan. In his Hiss of the Union tackle final week, the US president acknowledged any troop pullout would be linked to progress in peace talks. 

Regular Joseph Votel, the commander of US Central Instruct, exhibiting sooner than Congress final week, offered a largely optimistic ogle of Afghanistan, asserting one of the latest manoeuvring between the US and Taliban negotiators is “our first proper more than just a few for peace and reconciliation for the explanation that battle began”.

Votel eminent that the Taliban are smooth able to inflicting critical casualties on Afghan authorities forces.

Right final week, Taliban opponents killed some two dozen Afghan troops in an attack on an military bad in northern Kunduz province.

As well to to struggling with the Taliban, the US and coalition forces in Afghanistan are focussed on an affiliate of the Islamic Hiss of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS), identified as ISIS-Khorasan, comprised of foreign opponents largely from Pakistan.

Al Jazeera and news companies

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