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Mattis meets Afghan President Ghani during unannounced visit to Kabul

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during an unannounced visit to Kabul on Friday to discuss prospects for peace talks with the Taliban and the deteriorating security situation ahead of upcoming elections. Mattis was accompanied by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine General Joseph Dunford, who earlier in the week had gone to Islamabad with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on a mission to reset testy relations with Pakistan’s new government. Meeting Ghani in his presidential palace, the US officials discussed progress made towards ending the 17-year-old war, which has become America’s longest conflict, Reuters said. They discussed the peace process, the positive impact of the South Asia strategy, upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, counter-terrorism and dialogue with Pakistan, according to Ghani’s official spokesman.