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McMaster to assess security situation in Afghanistan

McMaster to assess security situation in Afghanistan

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On
Apr 13, 2017 - 09:15

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok):  US National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. HR McMaster would visit Afghanistaninfo-icon at the weekend to assess the security situation in the country, President Donald Trump says.

McMaster, who is scheduled to visit Islamabad and New Delhi, would find out how progress could be made in the country along with its partners and NATOinfo-icon allies, the president said at joint White House news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

“I'm sending Gen. McMaster to Afghanistan to find out how we can make progress alongside our Afghan partners and NATO allies,” Trump announced after talks with the NATO chief.

The White House, however, refused to give details of McMaster’s travel to Afghanistan or any other country in the region. “I can't comment on any potential travel at this time,” an administration official told Pajhwok Afghan News.

Afghanistan was one of the major topics of discussion between Trump and Stoltenberg. “Our mission in Afghanistan is a major contribution to the fight against international terrorism,” Stoltenberg told reporters.

McMaster's trip is expected to focus on assessing whether more US forces are needed to turn around the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan.

Gen. John Nicholson, commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said in February he needed a "few thousand" more troops to break a "stalemate" with the Talibaninfo-icon.

In an obvious U-turn, Trump said NATO was no longer an obsolete alliance. “I said (during the presidential campaign) it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete. It’s a great alliance.”

According to well-placed source, McMaster will also fly to Pakistaninfo-icon India to discuss the stabilisation of Afghanistan and the threats posed by Taliban and the expanding footprint of the Islamic State.

In New Delhi, he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.

 “NSA McMaster, the key figure behind the US strike in Syria, will be in the region to assess the American role in Afghanistan and whether more troops are required in the near future,” an Indian official was quoted as saying.

nh/mud

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