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Top Pentagon official in Afghanistan amid push for peace

Gulf News 2019-02-11 19:00:26
Acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan (centre L) takes part in a meeting with Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib (R), next to General Scott Miller (centre R), commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and US Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass (L) in Kabul. Acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan arrived in Afghanistan on an unannounced visit February 11 as the United States leads a push for peace talks with the Taliban. Image Credit: AFP

Trump has taken an ambivalent approach to Afghanistan, saying his instinct upon entering office in 2017 was to withdraw. Yet he chose instead to add about 3,500 troops in 2017-2018 to bolster the US effort to train and advise Afghan forces. After Mattis resigned in December, Trump insisted that he had been unhappy with how Mattis handled Afghanistan. Since then, the administration has said it achieved a tentative “framework” for fuller peace negotiations with the Taliban.