U.S Defense Secretary Makes Surprise Visit To Afghanistan

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The U.S Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Friday made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan to consult with military commanders and deliver a pre-holiday pep talk to U.S troops, the Associated Press said in a report.

It is Carter’s last planned trip to Afghanistan before handing off his Pentagon responsibilities to his designated successor, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis.

Carter is scheduled to meet later in the day with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the Associated Press reported on Friday.

According to the report, prior to Carter’s arrival, his press secretary, Peter Cook, said Carter wants to get a full rundown on operations.

“In his meetings with senior Afghan officials, the secretary will discuss the growing capabilities and resilience demonstrated by Afghan security forces in recent months,” Cook said.

“He will also discuss ongoing efforts to continue building Afghan combat capacity including aviation,” he added.

This comes after the U.S Senate Committee on Armed Services on Wednesday criticized President Barack Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan, saying the combat troop withdrawal from the country led to a deterioration of security.

The Senate Committee also heard that president-elect Donald Trump should draw up a new strategy to eliminate insurgent sanctuaries in Pakistan.

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