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US Secretary of State Tillerson visits Afghanistan

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson paid a surprise visit to Afghanistan Monday to discuss Washington’s new strategy with President Ashraf Ghani, the US embassy said. Tillerson reiterated the US commitment to working with the Kabul government and regional partners “to achieve peace in Afghanistan and deny safe havens to terrorists who threaten that goal”, said a statement posted on Twitter.

The meeting took place at Bagram Airfield north of Kabul, America’s largest base in Afghanistan, as the resurgent Taliban step up attacks on Afghan troops and police in response to the US strategy announced in August.

“Clearly we have to continue to fight against the Taliban, against others, in order for them to understand they will never win a military victory,” Tillerson told reporters after the meeting that was also attended by Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

It was Tillerson’s first trip to the country as Secretary of State, and came several weeks after US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis paid an unannounced visit.

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