Esper in Afghanistan as U.S. looks to kick start Taliban talks

  • Monday 21, October 2019 07:18 AM
  • Esper in Afghanistan as U.S. looks to kick start Taliban talks
Sharjah24 – Reuters: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday (October 20) in a bid to bring talks with the Taliban back on track after President Donald Trump abruptly broke off negotiations last month seeking to end the United States' longest war.
Esper's trip to Kabul comes amid questions about the United States' commitments to allies after a sudden withdrawal of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria and Trump's long-time desire to get out of foreign engagements.

"The aim is to still get a peace agreement at some point, a political agreement. That is the best way forward," Esper told reporters traveling with him to Afghanistan.

He is due to meet President Ashraf Ghani and U.S. troops while in Afghanistan.

He added that the United States could go down to about 8,600 troops, from the current 14,000, without affecting counter-terrorism operations, if needed.