United States detecting some Taliban interest in Afghan peace talks: Mattis

United States detecting some Taliban interest in Afghan peace talks: Mattis

United States detecting some Taliban interest in Afghan peace talks: Mattis

U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis arrived in Kabul in an unannounced visit, Tom Gresback, the spokesman of U.S. and NATO's Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, told newsmen.

Mattis said we shouldn't expect peace moves from the Taliban en masse, but that some might be open to talks. Mattis noted some positive indications from Islamabad, including Pakistani military operations along the border.

"It's all working to achieve a political reconciliation, not a military victory", Mattis said.

Ghani, during a meeting with Mattis, described the new US strategy as a game changer, allowing Kabul to extend its peace offer to the Taliban without doing so from a position of weakness.

Two weeks ago, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani offered direct talks with the Taliban with no preconditions.

His visit will take stock of the war, with emphasis on prospects for drawing at least some Taliban fighters towards reconciling with the Afghan government.

However, Mattis says a diplomatic solution must be between Kabul and the Taliban.

"We do look toward a victory in Afghanistan", he said, adding, "Not a military victory - the victory will be a political reconciliation" with the Taliban.

"In other words, it may not be that the whole Taliban comes over in one fell swoop", he said.

Father: 'Neymar has a future at Paris Saint-Germain'
Al-Khelaifi also refuted suggestions that the Ligue 1 leaders would lose their biggest star. I play with him for the worldwide team and it is a real privilege.

However, the insurgents, who seized a district center in western Afghanistan earlier this week, have given no public sign of accepting Ghani's offer, instead issuing several statements suggesting they meant to keep fighting.

Defense Secretary James Mattis is in Afghanistan Tuesday to discuss the military campaign there and "peeling off" some members of the Taliban to pursue a peace deal with the Afghan government.

U.S. intelligence officials are predicting the war will remain stalemated as the traditionally most intensive fighting season begins this spring.

Mattis has said that the US goal is to enable Afghan forces to weaken the Taliban to the point where the Afghans can manage their own security.

As part of its new strategy for Afghanistan, the United States has boosted the number of USA troops in Afghanistan by at least 3,500, to a total of more than 14,000, and stepped up air strikes in the country.

More than 3,000 additional USA forces have also arrived in Afghanistan to boost the training and advising of local troops. Put another way - the aim is to convince the insurgents they can not win on the battlefield, thus driving them to reconcile with the Afghan government. The insurgent group has said it is prepared to negotiate, but only with the USA and not with the Kabul government. Ghani's peace plan includes eventually recognizing the Taliban as a political party.

"I also wonder whether or not they're saying to themselves perhaps this is the best negotiating position (we) will ever have", Fenzel said.

But the Taliban has so far ruled out direct talks with the Western-backed government, which they say is illegitimate.

Related news