Acting US Defense Chief: Afghans Must Decide Own Future
During a trip to Afghanistan, America's acting defense chief said that the Afghan people must be a part of peace negotiations to shape the country's future.
Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan arrived Monday in Kabul for an unannounced visit. He held talks with President Ashraf Ghani and other Afghan officials.
Before the meeting, Shanahan told reporters that he would make clear his support for Afghan officials being included in negotiations aimed at ending the country's 17-year war.
U.S. officials have led several rounds of talks with Taliban representatives in recent weeks. The goal of the talks is to reach a peace deal agreed to by all sides in the war.
Taliban fighters currently carry out near-daily attacks in the country, mainly on Afghan security forces. The Taliban currently controls about half the country's territory.
The war began when U.S.-led forces launched attacks shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The military action was aimed at ousting the Taliban from power.
U.S. officials accused Taliban leaders of providing support to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and his followers.
Zalmay Khalilzad is the U.S. negotiator who led the latest round of talks with Taliban representatives in the Gulf nation of Qatar. He has reported "significant progress" in the talks.
He said on Friday that he hopes a peace deal can be reached by July. That is when Afghanistan is set to hold a presidential election.
The next round of talks is set for February 25 in Qatar.
So far, the Taliban has refused to permit Ghani's government to join the peace talks. Taliban leaders say they do not recognize the current Afghan government.
U.S. officials have sought to resolve the disagreement so all parties can take part.
"The Afghans have to decide what Afghanistan looks like," Shanahan told reporters. "It's not about the U.S., it's about Afghanistan," he said.
Shanahan also said he had not received orders from U.S. President Donald Trump to reduce the number of American troops in Afghanistan. The U.S. military has about 14,000 troops in the country. About 8,000 troops from 38 other countries are also involved in the effort.
During his State of the Union address last week, Trump said the United States would keep working toward a peace deal to end the Afghan war. "We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement," Trump said.
But he added: "We do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace."
I'm Bryan Lynn.
1.aimed at 针对；旨在
The government rushed through legislation aimed at Mafia leaders.
2.at least 至少
This jury is expected to be sequestered for at least two months.
3.presidential election 总统选举
Neither of the front-runners in the presidential election is a mainstream politician.
4.peace negotiations 和平谈判
Their boycott of the talks constitutes a serious impediment to peace negotiations.
5.U.S. officials have sought to resolve the disagreement so all parties can take part.
take part 参加；参与
We had the devil's own job to persuade him to take part.
We would appreciate confirmation of your refusal of our invitation to take part.
6.The goal of the talks is to reach a peace deal agreed to by all sides in the war.
reach a deal 达成协议
Ms. Pelosi said Democrats remained on track to reach a deal on major health care legislation.
It is not hard to see why it has proved so hard to reach a deal.
美国代理国防部长沙纳汉周一抵达喀布尔，这次访问事先没有官方公布 。他与阿富汗总统阿什拉夫·加尼和其他官员举行了会谈 。
近几周，美国官员与塔利班代表举行了几轮会谈 。会谈的目标是达成参战各方都同意的和平协议 。
现今，塔利班武装分子几乎每天都在阿富汗发动袭击，主要针对阿富汗安全部队 。塔利班目前控制着阿富汗约一半的领土 。
阿富汗战争始于2001年9月11号美国遭受袭击后，以美国为首的联军发动的报复性袭击 。这次军事行动的目的是把塔利班赶下台 。
美国谈判代表哈利勒扎德（Zalmay Khalilzad）在海湾国家卡塔尔领导了与塔利班代表的最新一轮谈判 。他报告称，会谈取得了“重大进展” 。
周五，他表示，希望能在7月前达成和平协议 。届时阿富汗将举行总统大选 。
到目前为止，塔利班拒绝允许加尼政府参与和谈 。塔利班领导人称，他们不承认当前的阿富汗政府 。
沙纳汉告诉记者：“阿富汗的未来必须由阿富汗人决定 。”他称：“这与美国无关，而与阿富汗有关 。”
沙纳汉还表示，他没有接到美国总统特朗普要求减少阿富汗驻军人数的命令 。美军在阿富汗大约有1.4万名军人 。在阿富汗驻军的还有来自38个国家的大约8000名军人 。
特朗普在上周的国情咨文演讲中表示，美国将继续为达成结束阿富汗战争的和平协议而努力 。“虽然我们不知道双方能否达成协议，”特朗普说 。