Tuesday, 19 November, 2019

US defense chief Mark Esper visiting Afghanistan to assess the way ahead

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper addresses reporters during a media briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington Virginia US October 11. — Reuters US Defense Secretary Mark Esper addresses reporters during a media briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington Virginia US October 11. — Reuters
Patty Aguilar | 21 October, 2019, 19:31

Pentagon chief Mark Esper has indicated that the USA might drawdown its forces stationed in war-torn Afghanistan if a peace deal is reached.

"The United States remains committed to peace and stability in Afghanistan and will continue to fight against terrorism", said Secretary Pompeo in a statement issued by his office. In a tweet released after the meeting, he said: "We are committed to supporting a free & democratic Afghanistan". But President Donald Trump suspended the peace talks after a United States soldier was killed in a terrorist attack by the militant group.

Esper deliberate to fulfill along with his prime commanders in Afghanistan because the US works to find out the way in which forward within the 18-year warfare.

U.S. Protection Secretary Mark Esper arrived Sunday in Afghanistan, the place stalled peace talks with the Taliban and chronic violent assaults by the rebel group and Islamic State militants have hard the Trump administration's pledge to withdraw greater than 5,000 American troops.

Esper told reporters that the number of USA troops in Afghanistan could be reduced to around 8-thousand-600 from the current 14-thousand, if needed.

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Currently, the United States has around 14,000 troops in Afghanistan. However he stated any withdrawal would occur as a part of a peace settlement with the Taliban. U.S. forces are training and advising Afghan forces and conducting counterterrorism operations against extremists.

"The aim is to still get a peace agreement at some point, a political agreement".

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper traveled to Afghanistan on Saturday in an effort to restart peace talks with the Taliban after President Trump scrapped plans for negotiations at Camp David last month. "I hope we can move forward and come up with a political agreement that meets our ends and meets the goals we want to achieve", he said. President Donald Trump had ordered a troop withdrawal in conjunction with the peace talks that would have left about 8,600 American forces in the country.

On October 19, Afghans held funerals in eastern Afghanistan for victims of a mosque bombing a day earlier that killed at least 69 people during Friday Prayers, highlighting the uptick in attacks in recent months that Trump blamed for derailing the U.S. -Taliban talks.

Her office said in a statement on Sunday night the bipartisan delegation met with top Afghan leaders, civil society representatives and U.S. military chiefs and troops serving there.

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