By Idrees Ali | Reuters

The Red Tea Detox

KABUL – Performing U.S. protection secretary Patrick Shanahan arrived in Afghanistan on Monday and mentioned itwas necessary the Afghan authorities is concerned in talks, from which it has to date been excluded, to finish the 17-year-old conflict.

Shanahan, who will meet U.S. troops and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on his first journey in his new position, mentioned he had to date not acquired any course to scale back the almost 14,000 U.S.troops in Afghanistan.

He additionally mentioned america has necessary safety pursuits within the area.

Ghani’s authorities has been shut out of the evolving peace talks between Taliban negotiators and U.S. envoys, with the hardline Islamist motion branding his authorities a U.S.puppet. Kabul can be involved {that a} sharp draw down of U.S.forces may result in chaos within the area.

“It will be significant that the Afghan authorities is concerned in discussions relating to Afghanistan,” Shanahan advised a small group of reporters touring with him on the unannounced journey.

“The Afghans must determine what Afghanistan seems like sooner or later. It’s not in regards to the U.S., it’s about Afghanistan,”he mentioned.

Shanahan took over from Jim Mattis, who give up in December over coverage variations with U.S. President Donald Trump.

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He mentioned he couldn’t make any ensures as a result of U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was main the talks.

“The U.S. navy has sturdy safety pursuits within the area. (The) presence will evolve out of these discussions,”Shanahan mentioned.

He additionally mentioned his objective on the journey was to get an understanding of the state of affairs on the bottom from commanders after which to temporary Trump on his findings.

U.S. officers have held a number of rounds of talks with th eTaliban in Qatar since final 12 months in what’s broadly seen as essentially the most critical bid but for peace in Afghanistan for the reason that Taliban have been ousted by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in late 2001.

Either side hailed progress after the newest spherical final month, though important obstacles stay. These embrace the involvement of the Afghan authorities, which the Taliban refuse to acknowledge.

The following spherical of talks is due in Qatar on Feb. 25.

Michael Kugelman, a South Asia specialist on the Woodrow Wilson Heart, mentioned Shanahan’s primary precedence in Kabul must be to handle Afghan authorities considerations.

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“The highest precedence of Shanahan needs to be to impress upon th egovernment that we’re going to do every thing we will to get yo uinto this dialog,” Kugelman mentioned.

‘LEVERAGE’

Shanahan can even must grapple with how a lot allies will belief him.

Mattis, a former four-star normal as soon as in command of U.S.Central Command, was revered for his deep data of navy and world affairs. Shanahan, a former Boeing govt and Mattis’s deputy, is seen as a relative outsider in international coverage circles.

Afghanistan and neighboring nations are additionally involved in regards to the impact a sudden withdrawal of U.S. forces may have on the area.

An Afghan official, talking on the situation of anonymity, advised Reuters that even the suggestion of U.S. troops probably leaving was harmful.

“In fact it has given leverage to the Taliban, there is no such thing as a query about that,” the official mentioned.

Trump has provided no specifics about when he would carry house the 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan however has mentioned progress in negotiations with the Taliban would allow a troop discount and a “give attention to counter-terrorism.”

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Shanahan mentioned a withdrawal of about half the U.S. troops in Afghanistan was not one thing that was being mentioned at this level and he had not been directed to scale back troop numbers.

“The presence we would like in Afghanistan is what assures our homeland protection and helps regional stability after which any kind of sizing is completed in a coordinated and disciplined method,”he mentioned.

Khalilzad mentioned after six days of talks with the Taliban in Doha final month america and the Taliban had sketched the outlines for an eventual peace accord.

He has mentioned since then there had been progress on the way forward for U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Nonetheless, the Taliban have put out contradictory informatio non what timeline the U.S. had agreed to in any potential withdrawal.

Most not too long ago, a Taliban official mentioned no timetable had been agreed with the U.S. authorities for the partial withdrawal of U.S. forces.

U.S. officers have advised Reuters that, whereas no formal orders have been despatched, the navy is making ready for what a withdrawal of about half of the 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan would appear to be.

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