Performing Pentagon chief lands in Afghanistan, helps Kabul function in peace talks – Instances of India

Performing Pentagon chief lands in Afghanistan, helps Kabul function in peace talks – Instances of India

KABUL: Performing US defence secretary

Patrick Shanahan

arrived in


on Monday and mentioned it was vital the Afghan authorities is concerned in talks, from which it has to this point been excluded, to finish the 17-year-old struggle.

Shanahan, who will meet US troops and Afghan President

Ashraf Ghani

on his first journey in his new function, mentioned he had to this point not acquired any route to scale back the almost 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan.

He additionally mentioned the US has vital safety pursuits within the area.

Ghani’s authorities has been shut out of the evolving peace talks between


negotiators and US envoys, with the hardline Islamist motion branding his authorities a US puppet. Kabul can also be involved {that a} sharp drawdown of US forces may result in chaos within the area.

“It’s important that the Afghan authorities is concerned in discussions concerning Afghanistan,” Shanahan instructed a small group of reporters travelling with him on the unannounced journey.

“The Afghans must resolve what Afghanistan seems like sooner or later. It is not concerning the US, it’s about Afghanistan,” he mentioned.

Shanahan took over from Jim Mattis, who stop in December over coverage variations with US President

Donald Trump


He mentioned he couldn’t make any ensures as a result of US peace envoy

Zalmay Khalilzad

was main the talks.

“The US army has sturdy safety pursuits within the area. (The) presence will evolve out of these discussions,” Shanahan mentioned.

He additionally mentioned his aim on the journey was to get an understanding of the state of affairs on the bottom from commanders after which to transient Trump on his findings.

US officers have held a number of rounds of talks with the Taliban in


since final 12 months in what’s broadly seen as essentially the most severe bid but for peace in Afghanistan because the Taliban have been ousted by US-backed Afghan forces in late 2001.

Each side hailed progress after the newest spherical final month, though important obstacles stay. These embody the involvement of the Afghan authorities, which the Taliban refuse to acknowledge.

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

Michael Kugelman, a

South Asia

specialist on the Woodrow Wilson Heart, mentioned Shanahan’s essential precedence in Kabul needs to be to deal with Afghan authorities considerations.

“The highest precedence of Shanahan needs to be to impress upon the federal government that we will do every part we will to get you into this dialog,” Kugelman mentioned.


Shanahan may also must grapple with how a lot allies will belief him.

Mattis, a former four-star common as soon as accountable for US Central Command, was revered for his deep information of army and world affairs. Shanahan, a former Boeing govt and Mattis’s deputy, is seen as a relative outsider in overseas coverage circles.

Afghanistan and neighbouring international locations are additionally involved concerning the impact a sudden withdrawal of US forces may have on the area.

An Afghan official, talking on the situation of anonymity, instructed Reuters that even the suggestion of US troops probably leaving was harmful.

“In fact it has given leverage to the Taliban, there is no such thing as a query about that,” the official mentioned.

Trump has supplied no specifics about when he would deliver residence the 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan however has mentioned progress in negotiations with the Taliban would allow a troop discount and a “concentrate on counter-terrorism”.

Shanahan mentioned a withdrawal of about half the US troops in Afghanistan was not one thing that was being mentioned at this level and he had not been directed to scale back troop numbers.

“The presence we would like in Afghanistan is what assures our homeland defence and helps regional stability after which any kind of sizing is completed in a coordinated and disciplined method,” he mentioned.

Khalilzad mentioned after six days of talks with the Taliban in Doha final month, the US and the Taliban had sketched the outlines for an eventual peace accord. He has mentioned since then there had been progress on the way forward for US troops in Afghanistan.

Nevertheless, the Taliban have put out contradictory info on what timeline the US had agreed to in any potential withdrawal.

Most lately, a Taliban official mentioned no timetable had been agreed with the US authorities for the partial withdrawal of US forces.

US officers have instructed Reuters that, whereas no formal orders have been despatched, the army is getting ready for what a withdrawal of about half of the 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan would appear to be.