McMaster Visits Afghanistan Amid Questions Over Strategy

McMaster Visits Afghanistan Amid Questions Over StrategyMcMaster Visits Afghanistan Amid Questions Over Strategy

US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser met Afghan officials in Kabul on Sunday, amid questions over the new administration’s plans for the military mission in Afghanistan after US forces unleashed a huge bomb there on militants.

The visit by H.R. McMaster, the first high-level visit to the country by a Trump official, came just days after the US military sparked controversy by dropping a GBU-43 MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb), one of the largest conventional weapons ever used in combat, during an operation on Thursday against IS militants in eastern Afghanistan, NBC News reported.

While military officials said the strike was based solely on tactical needs, it led to speculation that Trump’s defense advisers are planning to escalate the war against militants in Afghanistan.

McMaster met President Ashraf Ghani and other senior Afghan officials to discuss security, counterterrorism, reforms and development, according to a statement on the palace’s Twitter account.

Ghani told McMaster that “terrorism is a serious issue for the security of the world and the region” and that if serious steps are not taken, it would affect “generations” of people, according to the statement.

In an interview on ABC’s “This Week” aired on Sunday, McMaster said that in the past the US didn’t have as reliable a partner in the Afghan government as the US would have liked but with Ghani in power, that has changed.

“Now we have a much more reliable Afghan partner and we have reduced considerably the degree and scope of our effort,” he said.

“The stakes are high. This is really the modern-day frontier between barbarism and civilization.”

Nearly 9,000 US troops are stationed in Afghanistan to train and advise Afghan forces, provide close air support to soldiers on the ground and form a separate counter-terrorism unit that targets the self-styled Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks.

The top US commander in Afghanistan has said he needs “several thousand” more troops to help the Afghans take on a resurgent Taliban and battle other insurgents, but no official plan has been announced.

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