Acting US defence secy on maiden Afghan visit

Reuters . Kabul | Published: 13:35, Feb 11,2019


US secretary of defense Patrick Shanahan speaks during the missile defense review announcement at Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, US, on January 17, 2019. — Reuters photo

Patrick Shanahan arrived in Afghanistan on Monday on his first trip as acting US defence secretary and said it was important the Afghan government is involved in talks, from which it has so far been sidelined, to end the 17-year-old war.

‘It is important that the Afghan government is involved in with him on the unannounced trip, discussions regarding Afghanistan,’ Shanahan told a small group of reporters travelling.

He said the United States has important security interests in the region and wanted to hear from commanders on the ground.

Shanahan replaced Jim Mattis, who quit in December 2018 over policy differences with US president Donald Trump.

He will meet US military officials and the Afghan leadership, including president Ashraf Ghani.

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