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U.S. Congressional Delegation Makes an Unannounced Visit to Kabul

(Last Updated On: October 21, 2019)

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a high-level bipartisan Congressional delegation made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Sunday, her office said in a statement.

According to the statement, Pelosi met with President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, top U.S. military commanders and diplomats, senior Afghan government officials and civil society leaders. 

“Our delegation received briefings from Ambassador John Bass and other top diplomats on reconciliation efforts with the Taliban, which has been responsible for violent attacks in Afghanistan,” said the statement. “We also heard more about the still-pending status of results from the Afghanistan presidential election in September, which we all hope will be available soon.” 

The U.S. delegation discussed security issues, improving governance and economic development with the Afghan leaders.

“Our delegation emphasized the central importance of combating the corruption which endangers security and undermines the Afghan people’s ability to achieve a stable and prosperous future,” Pelosi’s office said. “We underscored that the women of Afghanistan must be at the table for reconciliation talks.”

The delegation also met with civil society leaders including Afghan women.  

“While Afghan women have made some progress in some areas, more work is need to ensure their security and durable economic and educational opportunities for women and girls in Afghanistan,” the statement noted.

It comes as the U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper also made an unannounced visit to Kabul on Sunday, where he met with President Ghani and U.S. troops.

According to the media reports, Esper has told reporters traveling with him that he believes the U.S. can reduce American forces in Afghanistan to 8,600.

But he said any pullout would happen as part of a peace agreement with the Taliban insurgent group.

Currently, the U.S. has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan.

This comes after reports emerged that U.S. and Taliban representatives are discussing the resumption of peace talks.

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