U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper says Washington will continue to pursue an aggressive military campaign against Taliban and other terrorist groups until Afghanistan reaches to a political settlement.
In a surprise visit, the Pentagon chief arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday.
On Monday, Esper appeared at a joint press conference with Afghan Defense Minister Asadullah Khalid, Interior Minister Massoud Andarabi and U.S. top commander in Afghanistan General Scott Miller.
Speaking at the conference with his Afghan counterparts, Esper said the United States is supporting peace efforts led by the Afghan government.
“The United States remains fully committed to helping Afghans create a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan,” he added.
Esper said he had a good meeting with President Ashraf Ghani upon his arrival and the two sides have spoken about the importance of relationship between Afghanistan and the United States.
He reiterated that his country remains committed to the success of Afghan security forces who have taken the lead of security in the war-torn country.
The U.S. official also praised Afghan forces for their success to provide security of the Afghan presidential election that took place on September 28 despite of Taliban’s repeated threats.
“Regardless of the outcome of the election, our security partnership with Afghanistan will remain strong. Our mission in Afghanistan has not changed,” Esper emphasized.
During his one and half day stay in the capital of Afghanistan, Pentagon chief also visited U.S. soldiers based in camp Moorhead in southeast of Kabul.
“Just finished lunch with Afghan Security Ministers including @MoDAfghanistan Defense Minister Khalid and Interior Minister Andrabi. We all agree that a political settlement is the only long-term solution for peace and security in Afghanistan,” Esper wrote on Twitter as he departed from Afghanistan.