>> US Defense Secretary James Mattis in Kabul, Friday, meeting the new commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan. They are to discuss progress on talks with the Taliban, despite deteriorating security and turmoil within the Afghan government. The visit comes a year into America's latest attempt to step up pressure on the Taliban by increasing airstrikes and sending thousands more troops to train and advise Afghan forces.
But the effort has yet to make Afghanistan more secure and stable. The 17 year old war is America's longest conflict. US Army General, Scott Miller, assumed command of NATO forces in Afghanistan this week. He arrived as Washington faces growing questions over its strategy to force the Taliban into talks to end the grinding conflict.
As recently as July US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, held out hopes the Taliban would participate in a negotiated solution.>> There is hope that many of the Taliban now see that they can't win on the ground militarily. They're deeply connected to President Trump's strategy. We saw this.
We saw what happened. We saw the Taliban respond to the ceasefire that President Ghani put in place.>> Over the summer, a top US diplomat met Taliban officials in Qatar to try and lay the groundwork for broader peace talks. That development, a significant step from the US administration's thinking in January.
>> There's no talking to the Taliban. We don't wanna talk to the Taliban. We're gonna finish what we have to finish. What nobody else has been able to finish, we're gonna be able to do it.>> A forthcoming book about the Trump administration by Bob Woodward describes a 2017 episode where the President vented at US generals for 25 minutes.
Saying that America seemed to be losing the Afghanistan conflict and asking, quote, how many more deaths, how many more lost limbs, how much longer are we going to be there?