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Taliban captures Farah province in Afghanistan

15 March, 2018, 03:56 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
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"All wars come to an end", Mattis said.

While the US military says the strategy has hit the Taliban hard, they still control or contest much of the country.

Elements of the Taliban are open to talks with the Afghan government, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday as he arrived in Kabul on an unannounced visit.

Since President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out "subversion" at VA MORE announced a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan over the summer, the United States has sent thousands more troops there and bulked up its airpower.

Speaking to reporters before landing in Kabul, Mattis said some small groups of Taliban have come forward wanting talks with the Afghan government.

He said there were "elements of the Taliban clearly interested in talking with the Afghan government", while admitting that not all the rebels would be prepared to do so.

Ghani's offer of peace talks comes as civilian casualties have soared in recent months, with the Taliban increasingly targeting towns and cities in response to Trump's new and more aggressive USA military policy.

"We want the Afghans to lead and to provide the substance to the reconciliation effort", Mattis stated. Mattis said Tuesday he believes victory in Afghanistan is still possible - not necessarily on the battlefield but in facilitating a Taliban reconciliation with the Afghan government.

Thanks to the political process, Gen Mattis said the USA is now looking towards victory in Afghanistan.

Mattis said he would meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.




"In other words, it may not be that the whole Taliban comes over in one fell swoop", he said. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

Mattis acknowledged that efforts to reconcile with the entire Taliban have been hard.

Jamila Amini, another provincial council member from the district, said that the police chief and four of his men had been injured and that fierce fighting was still ongoing in the north of the district where an Afghan army base is located.

Mattis said the goal was to convince the Taliban that they could not win, which would hopefully push them towards reconciliation. Approximately 14,000 American forces are now in Afghanistan, up from a low of about 8,500 when the former U.S. President Barack Obama left office. Taliban so far have not responded to the offer.

On the military front, US officials assert that years of effort to build a credible and effective Afghan army and air force are beginning to pay off.

The defense secretary's latest visit included a new security precaution in which journalists traveling with him were directed to withhold publishing anything until after he left the airport and arrived at the USA military headquarters in Kabul.

Although Mehri did not report the number of casualties, an official of the local administration said on the condition of anonymity that over 10 members of the security forces had died.

Last month in an open letter Taliban reached out to the U.S.in hopes of ending the war.

"Afghan security forces have been stretched thin as fighting escalated after winter ended, " the United Nations said. Afghan forces, while "unsteady", probably will maintain control of most major population centers in 2018, he added.

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