US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter arrived in Afghanistan on Friday in an unannounced visit and met with President Ghani to discuss relationship and cooperation between the United States and Afghanistan.
The Defense Secretary and his spouse also visited the Bagram Air Base to meet US troops where a suicide attack claimed the life of five Americans about one month ago.
In a brief press conference with President Ghani Friday afternoon, US Secretary of Defense Ash. Carter admired the combat capacity of the Afghan security forces stating that Afghan forces have built their military capacity by support from NATO and the US.
“by my recommendation, 84000 US troops remain in Afghanistan till end of 2017 and they have been granted more authority. We will continue supporting the Afghan security forces of Afghanistan and this support will continue until 2020,” said Secretary Carter.
The international community supports Afghanistan in fight against terrorism and eliminating their safe heavens so that they will be no threat to Afghanistan, the region, and the world, he added.
Meanwhile, deeming it a historical decision, president Ghani counted the presence of US forces until 2017 important and vital for Afghanistan
Admiring Secretary Carter, President Ghani said: “you had a key role as secretary of defense of the Unite States and were able to identify threats and share them with President Obama.”
President Ghani also praised Carter’s role in creating an international consensus on funding, equipping, and training the Afghan security forces.
There are 8400 American troops deployed in Afghanistan within the Resolute Support Mission and provide advisory support to Afghani security forces and are engaged in fight against Haqqani Networ, Al-Qaeda and the ISIS.
This is the fourth and last official trip of the US Secretary Ashton Carter to Afghanistan before he hands over his pentagon responsibilities to his successor, General James Matti in Trump administration.