Mattis arrives in Afghanistan on surprise visit

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Kabul, Sep 7 (IANS) US Secretary of Defence James Mattis made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Friday.

Mattis arrived here on Friday morning and is scheduled to meet Army Gen. Scott Miller, the new Commander of Resolute Support and US Forces-Afghanistan, who assumed the role last week, reports CNN.

During a dialogue in New Delhi on Thursday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Mattis, and their Indian counterparts, “reaffirmed their shared commitment to a united, sovereign, democratic, inclusive, stable, prosperous, and peaceful Afghanistan”, according to a joint statement.

Earlier this week, Pompeo named veteran diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad as a newly-named State Department special envoy to Afghanistan.

Khalilzad, Pompeo said, would be “full time focused on developing the opportunities to get the Afghans and the Taliban to come to a reconciliation.”

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The topic of reconciliation was a prominent one as both secretaries travelled the region this week.

The two secretaries arrived in the country amid violence that took place earlier this week, CNN reported.

One US service member was killed and another was injured on Monday in “an apparent insider attack” in eastern Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, 20 people, including two journalists, were killed in Kabul in twin bomb attacks on a wrestling club. The Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility for the attack.

–IANS

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