Politics, Americas, Asia - pacific

US acting Pentagon chief meets Afghan president

Patrick Shanahan, Ashraf Ghani discuss defense issues, including importance of US-Afghanistan security relationship

12.02.2019
US acting Pentagon chief meets Afghan president Acting U.S. defense chief Patrick Shanahan meets with Afghan Defense Minister Asadullah Khalid during his visit in Kabul, Afghanistan on February 11, 2019. ( Defense Ministry of Afghanistan / Handout - Anadolu Agency )

By Servet Gunerigok

WASHINGTON 

U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Monday in the Afghan capital Kabul, said a Pentagon spokesperson.

In a statement, Cmdr. Sean Robertson said Shanahan met Ghani at the presidential palace to reaffirm the U.S.’s commitment to Kabul through the implementation of President Donald Trump's South Asia strategy.

"The leaders discussed a broad range of defense issues, including the importance of the U.S.-Afghanistan security relationship and of achieving a political settlement to the war that ensures Afghanistan is never again used as a safe haven from which terrorists can plan and launch terrorist attacks against the United States, our interests, and our allies," said the statement.

In his first visit to Afghanistan, Shanahan praised the "sacrifices made by Afghan and Coalition troops" and reaffirmed Washington's "continued support to Afghan forces as they lead the fight to defend their country".

The meeting comes amid a renewed push for a peaceful end to the Afghan conflict.

Last month, Washington and the Taliban announced that an agreement in principle was reached for the eventual withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in return for the guarantee that no threats of terrorism would emerge from there to the rest of the world.

*Kasim Ileri contributed to this story

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