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Victory is possible in Afghanistan: Mattis

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AT-KABUL: The US Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis arrived in Kabul on an unannounced visit on Tuesday, in which he said victory was possible in Afghanistan through peace talks.

Before landing in Kabul, Mattis told reporters onboard that he believed victory in Afghanistan was still possible—not necessarily on the battlefield but in facilitating the Taliban reconciliation with the Afghan government.

President Ashraf Ghani welcomed Mattis and his high-ranking officials at the Presidential Palace, where both sides discussed peace talks with the Taliban, comprehensive dialogue with Pakistan, the upcoming elections, counternarcotics and issues pertaining Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

During meeting, President Ghani thanked Mattis for his country’s support to Afghanistan in every area, especially in war on terror.

Ghani said that the Untied State’s new strategy for South Asian and Afghanistan has changed the landscape and has opened up opportunities to more focus on peace process.

“That’s why we proposed a comprehensive peace offer to the Taliban at the Kabul Conference and also suggested government to government talks with the Pakistan,” President Ghani was quoted in a statement issued by the Presidential Palace.

Ghani also informed of a comprehensive and practical plans to return Afghan refugees from Pakistan.

He termed reintegration of refugees helpful in peace and stability in the country.

In his part, Mattis fully backed the proposal of Afghan government over peace talks with the Taliban and also direct talks with the government of Pakistan.

At the same time he expressed his gratitude over courage and dedication of the Afghan security forces in combating terrorism.

He furthered that backing peace process and security forces is of utmost importance in bringing lasting peace in Afghanistan.

High-ranking Afghan officials, including the Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah were present in the meeting.