Patrick Shanahan, Secretary of Defense, arrived in Afghanistan without notice when the US is trying to negotiate peace with the Taliban.
Shanhan will meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, whose government last month was not part of significant talks between US and Taliban officials, as officials expect a breakthrough in a 17-year conflict
. The Afghan government is taking part in the talks on Afghanistan, ”said Shanahan, a small group of journalists traveling with him on Monday's surprise journey.
Shanahan was replaced by Jim Mattis, who was in December. he left politics with US President Donald Trump.
The Taliban refused to negotiate directly with the Ghani government, calling it the Western Doll. But Giants' allies in Washington claim that the Afghans should lead the peace process.
Kabul is also concerned that the sudden withdrawal of nearly 1
The Taliban wants all American military forces to be withdrawn, and officials say it is at the top of the armed group's list of needs.
Shanahan, who will also meet with US leaders, told reporters that he had not yet received any direction to reduce troops in Afghanistan.
Al Jazeera Tony Birtley, of Kabul, said that the Shanahan trip was a "fact-finding mission".
"His opinion on Afghanistan is not widely known and is expected to become known after this visit," Birtley added. "His comments on the involvement of the Afghan government in the peace talks are important to the government because they feel like deviating from US-led talks."
Zalmay Khalilzad, Short Special Administrator for Afghan Peace Negotiations, said on Friday that although peace talks with the Taliban are at an early stage, he expects that by July, can be agreed
. Then presidential elections in Afghanistan are planned.
Since being appointed in September last year. Khalilzad has conducted several talks with the Taliban and other regional representatives in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, India, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The last US envoy conversation in Doha was at the end of the last month, when both parties met for six days
Washington wants to ensure that Afghanistan does not take groups to use this country as a basis for attacking the US. .
The next round of negotiations must take place in Qatar on 25 February.
December There have been many reports that The plan was to halve US forces in Afghanistan. The US President said last week that any withdrawal would be linked to the progress of peace talks.
US General Commander General Joseph Votel, who appeared last week before Congress, proposed a far more optimistic view of Afghanistan, saying that the current maneuver between the US and Taliban negotiators is "our first real opportunity for peace and reconciliation began with the war.
Votel noted that the Taliban can still suffer major casualties for Afghan government forces.
Last week, Taliban militants killed about two dozen Afghan troops attacking North Kunduz Provincial Army
In addition to fighting the Taliban, US and coalition forces in Afghanistan are focused on Iraq and Levant (ISIL, ISIS) Islamic states ] branch . ISIS-Khorasan, consisting of foreign fighters mainly from Pakistan
Al Jazeera and the News Agency