Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said he had seen some changes in Pakistan's behaviour since President Trump blasted the country a year ago for harbouring the Taliban. Mattis has admitted that getting the Taliban to reconcile with the government of Afghanistan maybe next to impossible.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived Tuesday in Kabul in an unannounced visit, Tom Gresback, the spokesman of U.S. and NATO's Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, told DPA.
Since a year ago, USA forces have increased strikes on Taliban targets, and provided additional assistance to Afghanistan's military.
Mattis was speaking to reporters before landing in Kabul for an unannounced visit there during an worldwide trip.
"We've had some groups of Taliban - small groups - who have either started to come over or expressed an interest" in talks, he said, CNN reported.
Mattis further said elements of the Taliban are open to talks with the Afghan government. They have so far not responded to Ghani's overture.
Western diplomats and officials in Kabul say contacts involving intermediaries have been underway with the aim of agreeing on ground rules and potential areas of discussion for possible talks with at least some elements in the Taliban.
"We want the Afghans to lead and provide the substance to the reconciliation effort", he said.
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Mattis described the approach as peeling off fighters exhausted from a war that's gone on for more than 16 years. He flew into the war-torn city two weeks after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani unveiled a plan to open peace talks with the Taliban.
The fighting took place on Sunday night when dozens of Taliban fighters attacked the administrative compound of the Anar Dara district from many directions, said Nasir Mehri, the spokesperson of the Governor of the province.
"There is interest that we've picked up from the Taliban side", Mattis told reporters before landing in Kabul, saying the signs dated back several months. You can sign up to receive it directly here. "The victory will be a political reconciliation". "There are operations by the Pakistan military that are helping right now, ongoing as we speak", he said. The message will hopefully push them towards reconciliation.
For him, the goal is to show the Taliban it will not have victory in the battlefield, and the group must come to the negotiation table. However, U.S. was not willing to enter peace talks. The Pentagon chief is among a small group of a senior advisers who convinced Trump that it made sense to not only continue the USA role in the war, but bolster it with more air power and a modest increase in the number of US troops from about 11,000 to 14,500.
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 US military headquarters in Kabul.
Dr. M.A. Ansari of the hospital's forensic department said positively identifying all the dead could take as long as a week because numerous bodies were badly burned.
In a letter addressed to the "American people, officials of independent non-governmental organizations and the peace loving Congressmen", the Taliban said it wanted to end the 17-year conflict through peace talks with President Trump. Afghan forces, while "unsteady", probably will maintain control of most major population centers in 2018, he added.