US Defense Secretary makes unannounced visit to Afghanistan
By Khaama Press - Tue Mar 13 2018, 10:45 am
There are no reports available regarding the agenda for his trip to Afghanistan but ahead of his travel to the country Mattis had talked regarding the ongoing efforts to end the Afghan conflict through dialogue.
“There is interest that we´ve picked up from the Taliban side,” Mattis was quoted as saying in a report by Reuters shortly before landing in Kabul, saying the signs date back several months.
“We´ve had some groups of Taliban who have either started to come over or expressed an interest in talking,” he said.
This comes as the Taliban group has so far refrained from participation in direct peace talks with the Afghan government and insists on direct talks with the US despite the Afghan government shared its proposal with the group regarding the reconciliation process during the Kabul Process summit.
On the other hand, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Alice Wells of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs told reporters last week that President Ghani offered a dignified process during the Kabul Process-II summit.
“This is not a surrender that’s being offered to the Taliban, but a dignified process for reaching a political framework. And again, he emphasized that this is negotiations without preconditions, a process that would lead to a cessation of violence, halt the ties with terrorism, and respect for the Afghanistan constitution,” she added.