MAMOSA Report — United States National Security Adviser Lt Gen H.R. McMaster is expected to visit Afghanistan and Pakistan (AfPAk) soon as part of his upcoming tour of the region for assessing the situation in Afghanistan.
“I’m sending Gen. McMaster to Afghanistan to find out how we can make progress alongside our Afghan partners and NATO allies,” Trump announced after talks with the NATO chief.
Gen McMaster would be the first high-level Trump administration official to visit Islamabad. He is also expected to travel to Afghanistan (to assess security situation) and India .
McMaster’s visit almost coincides with the 12-nation meeting on Afghanistan being hosted by Moscow on April 14.
The U.S. declined an invitation for the meeting, aimed at formulating a regional approach for peace and stability in Afghanistan, questioning Russian motives, reported Dawn.
A series of meetings have also begun in Islamabad to finalize Pakistan’s message during Gen McMaster’s visit, as reported by Dawn.
McMaster’s trip is expected to focus on assessing whether more US forces are needed to turn around the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan.
Gen. John Nicholson, commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said in February he needed a “few thousand” more troops to break a “stalemate” with the Taliban.
According to well-placed source, McMaster will discuss the stabilization of Afghanistan and the threats posed by Taliban and the expanding footprint of the Islamic State.
In New Delhi, he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.
Earlier, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday in an interview with the state-run newswire APP urged the Trump administration to play a role for the resolution of Kashmir dispute. While the U.S. has offered to mediate, India is not in favor of any third-party initiative.
Pakistan is attending the Moscow meeting on Afghanistan, but has been stressing that U.S. participation was a must for the process to succeed in regional perspective.
“We continue to be encouraged by Pakistan’s operations in North Waziristan and elsewhere in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Pakistan’s efforts have reduced the ability of some militant groups to use North Waziristan and Fata as a safe haven for terrorism,” said Adam Stump, a U.S. Defense Department spokesperson.