US Defense Secretary James Mattis has arrived in Afghanistan on a surprise visit aimed at shaping President Donald Trump’s strategy in the conflict-ridden country, amid signs of renewed violence.
Mattis arrived in the capital city of Kabul on Monday and was expected to meet with Afghan officials as well as American military troops stationed there.
The Pentagon chief’s arrival coincided with the resignation of his Afghan counterpart Abdullah Habibi and Army Chief of Staff Qadam Shah Shahim following a Taliban attack on a military base that killed some 140 soldiers last week.
The apparent security failure saw as many as 10 Taliban militants disguised as Afghan army personnel make their way into the base on military vehicles and gun down unsuspecting soldiers and new recruits. The final death toll is expected to be higher.
There are currently over 9,000 US troops in Afghanistan. Washington claims that the massive military presence is only aimed at…