Performing protection secretary travels to Afghanistan irrespective of Taliban assaults

Performing defense secretary travels to Afghanistan despite Taliban assaults &#13 KABUL, Afghanistan — Acting Defense

Performing defense secretary travels to Afghanistan despite Taliban assaults

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KABUL, Afghanistan — Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller frequented Afghanistan on Wednesday, the 2nd senior defense official in a week to travel to the area amid ongoing Taliban violence versus civilians and Afghan security forces.

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His mission, he claimed, was to make selected that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani understands “we are even now guiding him” despite the U.S. troop drawdown there.

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Miller fulfilled with Army Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller, the commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, Ghani and U.S. service associates.

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The acting defense secretary’s pay a visit to to the country follows a car or truck bomb explosion Sunday in Kabul that killed nine people today and wounded 20 others. On Saturday, militants fired 5 rockets onto Bagram Airfield in Parwan province, the premier U.S. foundation in Afghanistan, from a small truck parked in a nearby village.

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Afghanistan proceeds to see violence versus governing administration forces and civilians by the Taliban and other terrorist teams these kinds of as the Islamic Point out. A peace settlement in February involving the United States and the Taliban laid out circumstances for the Taliban to fulfill, which include lessening violence and halting assaults on U.S. and NATO troops. The United States in return agreed to cut down the selection of troops in the country.

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On Nov. 17, Christopher Miller announced programs to lessen U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq by Jan. 15, 5 days just before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into workplace. The new administration would have 2,500 troops in Afghanistan and 2,500 in Iraq, while the scenario in both nations stays precarious.

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During the summer time, U.S. troops in Afghanistan had been diminished from 8,600 to 4,500. For the first time in the almost 20-calendar year war, there had been now additional NATO troops in the state than U.S. troops, in accordance to a U.S. navy formal. There are now 6,800 NATO forces and 4,000 U.S. forces.

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The United States, as properly its NATO allies, have tried to get the Taliban to do far more to lower the violence, according to a senior defense official who spoke on situation of anonymity.

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“As to the degrees of violence towards the [Afghan National Security Forces] and civilians, no, the Taliban have not manufactured people commitments. And [the violence] has not been lowered,” he claimed.

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Military Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Personnel, fulfilled very last 7 days with Taliban associates in Doha, Qatar, in which they are holding negotiations with the Afghan govt. For two hrs, he discussed the have to have for a reduction in violence in Afghanistan, The Involved Press noted. Milley has reported he talks did not lead to any breakthroughs.

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Not only are attacks by the Taliban a issue for the Pentagon but so are al-Qaida and ISIS pursuits in the nation.

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Zalmay Khalilzad, the American particular envoy for Afghan reconciliation, has warned the violence is “distressingly high” and could threaten the peace settlement, in accordance to a current Protection Division inspector basic report on Afghanistan.

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Miller stated he instructed Ghani that he was sorry for the assaults in the place and the Afghan persons were paying out the value for the violence.

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The peace negotiations involving the Afghanistan government and Taliban reps commenced in September following a number of months of hold off.

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“It’s so a great deal much easier to start off a war than it is to end 1,” Miller claimed shortly soon after he landed in Kabul. “I just think this is the genuine critical time in the peace approach. And [Ghani] is heading to be the a single to direct and have the braveness to move ahead on it.”

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This is not Miller’s to start with time in Afghanistan. He was among the the initial troopers on the ground soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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“I truly feel like the circle is finish. This was the initial time I was in beat, I feel I was at 14 several years in the services, and now to be here to see the contours and outlines of the war winding down and ending. … It is very significant for me,” he stated.

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Twitter: @caitlinmkenney