WASHINGTON – The speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, visited Afghanistan on Saturday, following US President Donald Trump’s cancellation of talks between Washington and the Taliban.
Pelosi’s office announced the Democrat leader’s visit to Kabul accompanied by a dozen lawmakers, including Republicans, who had traveled to Jordan on Saturday to receive information about the situation in Syria following the Turkish offensive.
“We were pleased to meet with President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and other senior Afghanistan government officials to discuss security issues, improving governance and economic development,” Pelosi said in the statement.
“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. We underscored that the women of Afghanistan must be at the table for reconciliation talks,” she added.
The bipartisan delegation also met the US ambassador to Kabul, John Bass, to be briefed “on reconciliation efforts with the Taliban, which has been responsible for violent attacks in Afghanistan” and the “still-pending status of results from the Afghanistan presidential election in September.”
The lawmakers also “briefly” met US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who was also visiting the country, as well as civil society leaders in Afghanistan, including Afghan women, in addition to traveling to Camp Morehead to meet US troops.
“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,” Pelosi said.
During the past year, the United States and the Taliban held nine rounds of negotiations in Doha, in which a draft agreement was reached, before Trump abruptly canceled these talks last month following a bombing in Kabul in which an American was killed.
Since the end of the NATO combat mission in Jan. 2015, the US maintains one contingent within the framework of the new allied mission of advising Afghan troops and another in “anti-terrorist” tasks.
Although NATO has stopped providing figures on the troops from each country that are part of its mission, Washington is estimated to have between 5,000-10,000 troops in Afghanistan.