By Robert Burns, The Associated Press on February 10, 2019.
KABUL – The Pentagon’s top official has arrived in Afghanistan to meet with U.S. commanders and Afghan leaders amid a push for peace with the Taliban.
The unannounced visit is the first for the acting secretary of defence, Pat Shanahan. He previously was the No. 2 official under Jim Mattis, who resigned as defence chief in December.
Shanahan told reporters travelling with him that he wants to stress to the Afghans that they must ultimately decide their own future, including how any peace is achieved with the Taliban.
He said he has no instruction from the White House to reduce the troop presence in Afghanistan from the current 14,000.
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