Mattis says Afghan victory still possible, but not on battlefield

  • Mattis says Afghan victory still possible, but not on battlefield

Mattis says Afghan victory still possible, but not on battlefield

In his meeting with the visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, he said the new US Policy has forced every actor to re-examine their assumptions. It marks Mattis' third visit to the country, where around 11,000 USA troops are stationed.

Afghan president's spokesman Dawa Khan Menapal told Anadolu Agency Ghani peace efforts with the Taliban topped the agenda of talks.

The US has a renewed focus on Afghanistan after years of drawdowns under former US president Barack Obama, and talk by top US generals of "not winning" and a "stalemate" in the seemingly intractable conflict. More than 3,000 additional US forces have also arrived in Afghanistan to boost the training and advising of local troops.

"That is why at the Kabul Process conference we have presented [a] comprehensive proposal for peace with the Taliban and state-to-state talks with Pakistan", the presidential palace quoted Ghani as saying in a statement.

Mattis said the jump in attacks on civilians was an indication that a pressured Taliban is unable to conduct broader, ground-taking operations.

Uzbekistan is set to host an Afghan peace conference later this month, where participants are expected to call for direct talks between the militant group and Ghani's government.

US officials have conveyed messages to Taliban political representatives in Qatar urging the group to negotiate with the Afghan government.

Afghanistan accuses Pakistan of waging an "undeclared war" against Afghanistan via the Taliban and the Haqqani Network, an allegation that Islamabad denies. But he said it was still too much to expect the whole Taliban to do so.

"We do look toward a victory in Afghanistan", he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has also piled pressure on Pakistan to crack down on militant safe havens on its side of the Afghan-Pakistan border. These and other moves boosted the number of USA troops in Afghanistan by at least 3,500, to a total of more than 14,000.

He said, "Of course it's all working to achieve a reconciliation". Mattis previously visited Afghanistan in April and September a year ago. The number of Afghan combat deaths also is withheld by the Afghan government.

"The Anardara district headquarters is under the insurgents' control and right now, an intense battle is going on all around the district center and government offices", said Bakhtawer.

The insurgents have recently stepped up attacks against Afghan security forces across Farah province.

In Votel's view, the greatest risk to stability in Afghanistan is the Kabul government's "uncertain political situation" as it prepares for planned July 2018 parliamentary elections.

Last month in an open letter Taliban reached out to the hopes of ending the war.

"We assess the overall security picture will. modestly deteriorate in the coming year and Kabul will continue to bear the brunt of the Taliban-led insurgency", Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, told a Senate committee on March 6.