Pentagon Weighs Troop Cuts as Shanahan Makes Surprise Visit to Afghanistan by Tara Copp – Military Times
The U.S. is considering what cuts to U.S. force levels could support peace negotiations in Afghanistan while balancing risk there, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Sunday.
Shanahan made the surprise visit, his first since becoming acting defense secretary, to meet with U.S. and Afghan leaders to discuss the nascent peace talks and assess the risks tied to a potential drawdown. Shanahan was named acting secretary in December by President Donald Trump to replace former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who resigned.
Shanahan’s visit comes days after the U.S. top negotiator for peace talks with the Taliban, Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, announced that the two parties have agreed in principle to framework where the Taliban would agree to prevent any terror groups from operating under their control, and the U.S. would begin a draw down of forces.