US Defense Sec Esper Makes Unannounced Visit to Afghanistan

▶️ U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan, Sunday, October 20, amid efforts to restart peace talks with the Taliban.

👉 “The aim is to still get a peace agreement at some point, a political agreement, that is the best way forward,” Esper told reporters traveling with him Sunday.

Last month, President Donald Trump abruptly called off yearlong U.S.-Taliban talks just when the two adversaries had come close to signing a peace agreement that could have ended the 18-year-old Afghan war, America’s longest overseas military intervention.

Trump declared the peace process “dead,” citing continued insurgent deadly attacks on Afghan civilians and American troops in Afghanistan.

The U.S. has about 14,000 American troops in Afghanistan as part of the American-led coalition that are training and advising Afghan forces and conducting counterterrorism operations against extremists.