KABUL: The Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Mike Pompeo, visited Kabul last week, the CEO of the National Unity Government (NUG) Abdullah Abdullah said on Monday at the Council of Ministers meeting.
During his visit, Pompeo met with President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah and “reiterated the US commitment to Afghanistan.”
“A US delegation, including the CIA chief, visited Afghanistan in recent days. They had meetings with the President and us over the commitment of the United States to continue their cooperation with Afghanistan,” said Abdullah.
“There was discussion over different issues: including threats, the way out, the efforts of the people of Afghanistan, implementation of security and stability in the country and confirmation of US support,” he said.
Abdullah added that the delegation also included State Department officials and “discussed the implantation of mutual commitments between the two countries in terms of previous agreements.”
However, Abdullah did not provide further details about Pompeo’s trip.
This US visit comes amid reports said that US President Donald Trump recently threatened to fire Gen. John Nicholson, the US and Nato commander in Afghanistan. Trump has also delayed announcing his new military and political strategy Afghans have been waiting for anxiously for the past six months.
Nicholson, 61, the top US military official in Afghanistan for the past 16 months, has become the best-known face of Washington here, working closely with Afghan military and civilian officials, and vocally advocating expanded US military engagement, while the Taliban and other insurgents continue aggressive attacks across the country.
Trump’s attack on Nicholson for failing to “win” the 16-year war has stunned Afghan officials and political leaders. They said a clear signal of continued support from Washington is urgently needed to keep the fragile Kabul government on its feet amid an explosion of public unrest and organized opposition from a variety of groups, according to a New York Times report.
But US National Security adviser HR McMaster, in an interview with the MSNBC which aired on Saturday, said they “absolutely trust Gen. Nicholson.”
During the interview, he also said that the Taliban and Haqqani network have “bases in Pakistan and we want to really see that changed.”
“There’s a tremendously successful campaign going on with Afghan forces in the lead. It’s an unreported campaign in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan. The president (Donald Trump) has said that he does not want to place restrictions on the military that undermine our ability to win battles in combat,” McMaster said during the interview. “He has lifted those restrictions, and you’re beginning to see the payoff of that as well.”
“The President has also made clear that he needs to see a change in the behavior of those in the region, which includes those who are providing safe havens and support bases for the Taliban, Haqqani Network and others. This is Pakistan, in particular, that we that we want to really see a change and a reduction of their support for these groups,” McMaster said.
“I mean, this is of course, you know, a very paradoxical situation, right, where Pakistan is taking great losses. They have fought very hard against these groups, but they’ve done so really only selectively.”
In response to another question: “There have been some hard hits in Kabul. Do you have confidence yourself in General Nicholson, the combatant commander in Afghanistan?”
“Oh, of course. I’ve known him for many years. I can’t imagine a more capable commander in any in any, on any mission,” McMaster said.
This comes while, the insurgents have increased their attacks in the country and more frequent clashes with the Afghan security forces in the different parts of the country are occurring.
There are 8,400 US troops in Afghanistan training and advising the Afghan military in the fight against the Taliban and Daesh