Mattis arrives in Afghanistan on surprise visit

0
7


Mattis touched down in the country Friday morning and is scheduled to meet with Army Gen. Scott Miller, the new Commander of Resolute Support and US Forces-Afghanistan, who assumed the role last week.

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo named veteran diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad as a newly-named State Department special envoy to Afghanistan.

Khalilzad, Pompeo said, would be “full time focused on developing the opportunities to get the Afghans and the Taliban to come to a reconciliation.”

The topic of reconciliation was a prominent one as both secretaries traveled the region this week.

During a dialogue in New Delhi on Thursday, Pompeo, Mattis, and their Indian counterparts, “reaffirmed their shared commitment to a united, sovereign, democratic, inclusive, stable, prosperous, and peaceful Afghanistan,” according to a joint statement.

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (L) sits next to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) during a trip to Delhi.

On Wednesday, Pompeo told reporters he discussed with Pakistani officials “the work that we all know that we need to do to try and develop a peaceful resolution in Afghanistan, which benefits certainly Afghanistan but also the United States and Pakistan.” The US has accused Pakistan of granting a safe haven to militants waging war in neighboring Afghanistan — a charge Pakistan denies.

In July, a senior State Department official met for discussions with Taliban officials in Doha, Qatar.

The two secretaries touched down in the country amid a bloody start to September.

One US service member was killed and another was wounded Monday in “an apparent insider attack” in eastern Afghanistan, according to a statement from the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan, Resolute Support.

On Wednesday, 20 people — including two journalists — were killed in Kabul in twin bomb attacks on a wrestling club. ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack. A recent UN report said the number of Afghan civilians killed in the first six months of this year has reached a record high.

CNN’s Ehsan Popalzai and Brad Wilkinson contributed to this report.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here