US DEFENCE Secretary Jim Mattis flew into the Afghan capital Kabul yesterday, voicing Washington’s constant refrain that victory is possible while redefining what it might look like.
“We do look toward a victory in Afghanistan. Not a military victory: the victory will be a political reconciliation,” he said, hoping to involve the Taliban in a deal with the increasingly beleaguered Kabul government.
Mr Mattis, who commanded US troops in southern Afghanistan during the 2001 US-led invasion, said getting the Taliban to reconcile en masse may be “a bridge too far,” so the plan was to draw them in piecemeal.
He called this an effort to “start peeling off those who are tired of fighting” after more than 16 years of war.
Security concerns were so high for his visit that reporters travelling with him were not allowed to file stories until his party had moved from Kabul airport to the US-led military coalition’s headquarters.
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