'No unilateral troop reduction' by US: acting Pentagon chief


BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The United States will not unilaterally withdraw from Afghanistan, acting US Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Thursday (February 14), as NATO said the Kabul government must be urgently brought into US peace talks with the Taliban aimed at ending the country's 17-year war.

"There will be no unilateral troop reduction. That was one of the messages in the meeting today. It will be co-ordinated. We work together," Shanahan said in Brussels after a meeting of NATO defence ministers, which came after he visited Kabul and Baghdad for talks.

"It is very important that the Afghan government as soon as possible becomes fully integrated in the peace process," said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

The United States is leading a push for peace talks with the Taliban, with the militants Wednesday (February 13) announcing a fresh round of meetings in Islamabad.

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