'Mad Dog' Made Secret Afghanistan Visit To Give US Troops Major Boost


While much of the mainstream media remains focused on the circus that was the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings or unsubstantiated claims made in anonymous Op-Eds and anti-Trump books, there is actual news occurring in other parts of the world that is being largely overlooked.

One such instance is the unannounced visit to Afghanistan that was just made by Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis — accompanied by Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman — to meet with Afghan leaders and the military leadership of the U.S.-led coalition force, according to Reuters.

The main purpose of the visit was for Mattis to meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to discuss potential peace talks with the Taliban and the status of the security situation in the country as parliamentary and presidential elections are rapidly approaching.

According to a tweet from Ghani’s spokesman, some of the topics discussed during the meeting included the “peace process, positive impact of the South Asia strategy, reforms in (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces), upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, counter-terrorism and dialogue with Pakistan.”

That counterterrorism dialogue with Pakistan looms large as the U.S. just cut $300 million in military aid to Pakistan in response to that nation’s apparent failure to do more to take on Taliban militants and other terrorists who’ve sought safe harbor in Pakistan’s largely autonomous regions bordering Afghanistan.

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Mattis, Dunford and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had just wrapped up a visit to Pakistan in which the tense relationship between the two nations was smoothed over with representatives of Pakistan’s new government.

But another possible, and arguably just as important, purpose of the Mattis’ visit was to provide a morale boost to the roughly 14,000 U.S. military service members who are deployed to the war zone right now.

The visit came just days after a ceremony Sunday in which U.S. Army Gen. Scott Miller assumed command of all U.S. and NATO forces in the country from the outgoing commander, Gen. John Nicholson.

The talks with Afghan leaders about a potential peace agreement for the nation that has been wracked by war for 17 years also came in the wake of a resurgence in terrorist attacks by Islamist groups and a push by the Taliban militants to expand their territory, including the brief seizure of the city of Ghazi.

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At the same time, the Islamic State group affiliate in Afghanistan has launched several deadly terrorist attacks in recent days and weeks, highlighting the still tenuous nature of the security situation in the country.

Meanwhile, U.S. and coalition forces have stepped up their attacks on the Taliban and other terrorist groups in an effort to weaken their resolve to continue fighting, and hopefully come to the table for substantial peace talks.

“Right now, we have more indications that reconciliation is no longer just a shimmer out there, no longer just a mirage,” Mattis said to reporters of the prospect of eventual peace. “It now has some framework, there’s some open lines of communication.”

Of the potential for peace talks, Dunford told reporters, “The most important work that has to be done is beginning the political process and reconciliation.”

“What we are trying to do in the military dimension is convince the Taliban that they cannot win on the battlefield and that they must engage in a peace process,” he said.

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While talk of a peace process and reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban might seem rather incredible considering the bitterness of the war that has raged so many years, the groundwork for talks has been laid and small temporary truces have been made and honored in recent months, fostering optimism that peace will eventually prevail.

Interestingly, for all the animosity between the two sides, there is one piece of common ground: The brutal Islamic State group has to be utterly destroyed and uprooted from Afghanistan, as its mere presence is viewed as intolerable by both the Afghan government and the Taliban.

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Ben Marquis is a writer who identifies as a constitutional conservative/libertarian. He has written about current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. His focus is on protecting the First and Second Amendments.
Ben Marquis has written on current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. He reads voraciously and writes about the news of the day from a conservative-libertarian perspective. He is an advocate for a more constitutional government and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, which protects the rest of our natural rights. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with the love of his life as well as four dogs and four cats.
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