WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US Defense Secretary James Mattis and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a meeting with Afghanistan's officials in Kabul pledged to keep helping the country in its fight against terrorism, the Resolute Support Mission said in a press release on Thursday.
Stoltenberg called on the Taliban terror group (banned in numerous countries) to begin negotiations as the only way to reach a settlement, the release said.
During the visit, Mattis strengthened ties with Afghan partners and expressed gratitude to US military members who serve in the country, the release added.
Gen Nicholson welcomes US SecDef James Mattis, NATO SecGen Jens Stoltenberg & US Ambassador to NATO Kay Hutchison to RSHQ today pic.twitter.com/MikpGMuU2X— Resolute Support (@ResoluteSupport) 27 сентября 2017 г.
Afghanistan has long been suffering from unstable political, social and security situation due to the activity of Taliban and, more recently, the Daesh terror group (also banned in numerous countries).
NATO Secretary General and US Defense Secretary reaffirm Afghan commitment pic.twitter.com/M6VfakE2J2— Resolute Support (@ResoluteSupport) 28 сентября 2017 г.
The James Mattis' visit to Afghanistan was connected with a tragic event which led to the deaths of civilians. Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, where US Defense Secretary James Mattis was to arrive for an official visit was attacked by militants who fired rocket-propelled grenades and mortar bombs at the airport in a strike claimed by both Daesh and the Taliban. The US side carried out an airstrike in response, but due to reported missiles malfunction, one person was killed and four were wounded.
The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces supported by the US-led coalition have been conducting joint operations to combat terrorism across the country. More than 250,000 people have been internally displaced as a result of the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan this year.