Acting Defense chief Shanahan makes surprise visit to Afghanistan


Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan took a surprise trip to Afghanistan on Monday, his first-ever visit to the country where U.S. troops have been stationed for 17 years.

The trip, Mr. Shanahan’s first foreign visit since taking over the reins at the Defense Department on Jan. 1, comes amid peace negotiations with the Taliban and President Trump’s stated mission to stop “endless wars” in the Middle East.

While Mr. Trump reportedly wants to cut in half the 14,000 American troops in Afghanistan, and Talibanleaders have made a U.S. withdrawal a key condition in peace negotiations, Mr. Shanahan told reporters Monday that he has no orders to reduce the American troop presence. The acting defense chief said that while the U.S. has a key role to play, it’s ultimately up to Afghans to find peace.

Read more…