Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Makes Unannounced Visit to Afghanistan

Joseph B. Hash

WASHINGTON—Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin manufactured an unannounced pay a visit to to Afghanistan Sunday forward of a coming deadline for President Biden to draw down U.S. troops in America’s longest war. The Pentagon explained Mr. Austin achieved with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani along with U.S. military services and diplomatic leaders […]

WASHINGTON—Defense Secretary

Lloyd Austin

manufactured an unannounced pay a visit to to Afghanistan Sunday forward of a coming deadline for President

Biden

to draw down U.S. troops in America’s longest war.

The Pentagon explained Mr. Austin achieved with Afghan President

Ashraf Ghani

along with U.S. military services and diplomatic leaders in the place as portion of the pay a visit to, the 1st by a best Biden administration official and amid the newest efforts by the U.S. and global powers to stop the two-10 years war.

U.S. officials haven’t explained no matter if they will fulfill a Could one deadline for departing Afghanistan, established under the Trump administration as portion of talks with leaders of the insurgent Taliban movement. But Biden administration officials have indicated frequently that getting rid of troops by then will be hard, given the ranges of ongoing violence.

The U.S. is portion of a multi-prong global energy searching for to protect against Afghanistan from turning into a haven for extremist groups, drug smuggling or other kinds of instability to the area.

The long term of the Afghan conflict also will be a important issue for U.S. Secretary of State

Antony Blinken

later on this week at a conference in Brussels of overseas ministers from North Atlantic Treaty Corporation countries.

“We went in jointly. We will modify jointly as we have about the a long time. And when the time is proper, we will leave jointly,”

Philip Reeker,

performing assistant secretary of condition for European and Eurasian affairs, instructed reporters very last week.

The talks about the very long-functioning Afghanistan war are the newest overseas coverage problem for the Biden administration. Mr. Blinken and White Residence countrywide security adviser

Jake Sullivan

clashed with Chinese counterparts about a vary of issues during meetings very last week in Alaska.

Earlier very last week, Russia recalled its U.S. ambassador in a sign of unhappiness about significant remarks by Mr. Biden and the launch of a U.S. intelligence evaluation blaming Russian President

Vladimir Putin

for searching for to interfere in the 2020 U.S. election.

Throughout a previously scheduled Afghan peace convention hosted by Moscow very last week, four nations—including the U.S., China, Russia and Pakistan—called on the Taliban to lower violence and start out talks for a electricity-sharing offer with the U.S.-backed Afghan federal government, led by Mr. Ghani.

In addition, the Ghani federal government has agreed to go to a U.S.-proposed global peace convention in Istanbul up coming thirty day period that will contain Taliban associates. People talks are aimed at carving out a electricity-sharing federal government involving the Taliban and Kabul.

“There’s constantly likely to be problems about factors just one way or the other, but I imagine there is a whole lot of strength targeted on accomplishing what is vital to deliver about a dependable stop and a negotiated settlement to the war,” Mr. Austin instructed reporters touring with him just before arriving Sunday in Kabul.

There are at the very least two,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan and six,500 NATO troops, and people allies have explained they would count on U.S. logistical assistance to withdraw troops.

The Trump administration very last year agreed to draw down the remaining American troops in Afghanistan by Could one as portion of a offer with the Taliban. But amid fears that the withdrawal could lead to increasing violence and the restoration of an Islamic emirate under the Taliban, the Biden administration has explained it has not manufactured any ultimate choice on withdrawing troops.

In an job interview very last week with ABC News, Mr. Biden hinted that the U.S. and allied troops could continue to be. Requested no matter if the withdrawal would just take location, Mr. Biden explained, “It could come about, but it is hard.” He added that if the withdrawal deadline is extended, it will not be by “a whole lot for a longer time.”

The unannounced stop in Afghanistan marked the stop of Mr. Austin’s 1st global excursion as defense main, which bundled stops in Japan, South Korea and India.

Although in New Delhi, Mr. Austin achieved with Indian Key Minister

Narendra Modi

and Indian countrywide security adviser

Ajit Doval

and his Indian counterpart,

Rajnath Singh,

in a bid to deepen defense ties involving the two countries, in a bid to counter a a lot more intense China.

The two countries signed agreements to allow sharing of encrypted military services intelligence and geospatial knowledge, and making use of each individual other’s bases for security forces to replenish materiel and gasoline.

In Doha, Qatar, U.S. and Taliban leaders signed a offer that aims to stop a long time of fighting. Photo: Hussein Sayed/Affiliated Push

Publish to Nancy A. Youssef at [email protected] and Ken Thomas at [email protected]

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