U.S Secretary of Defense James Mattis made a surprise visit to Kabul on Monday where he met with high-ranking officials including U.S-led Resolute Support commander Gen. John Nicholson.
Addressing a joint press conference late Monday afternoon with Nicholson, Mattis slated the Taliban and called them “this barbaric enemy”.
“What they do, makes it clear to me why we stand together to defeat them,” he said.
Mattis went on to say that he expects an ongoing dialogue with the Afghan leadership in order to provide his best assessment and advice to the U.S President Donald Trump.
“We continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Afghans for the future of this country,” he said.
Referring to the recent Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb the U.S Forces dropped on Achin, he said it “was to send a very clear message to ISIS (Daesh). If they come to Afghanistan they will be destroyed.”
“We are going to keep going until ISIS-K (Daesh Afghanistan) is defeated in 2017. There is no space for ISIS-K in Afghanistan.”
He went on to say the majority of the Afghan people reject the Taliban and do not want to see them resume power in Afghanistan.
In turn, Mattis said: “We are engaged in defining the way ahead in Afghanistan with several nations, there is no one nation that will be responsible.”
Mattis stopped off in Kabul on Monday during his tour of the Middle East and Africa to engage with strategic partners.
However, no details were given as to who he would meet while in the country.