Pentagon chief in Afghanistan as violence escalates

US Pentagon chief makes surprise visit to AfghanistanUS Defense Secretary Ashton Carter arrived in Afghanistan Friday for meetings with military commanders, as the security situation deteriorates with a surge in Taliban attacks and the creeping emergence of the Islamic State group. The unannounced visit comes just days after a Pentagon report presented a grim portrait of the war which has inflicted a growing number of casualties on hard-pressed Afghan forces. During an event with soldiers at a US base near Jalalabad city in the eastern province of Nangarhar, Secretary Carter warned of the Taliban’s continued threat to security in the country, while lauding the troops for training Afghan forces to battle the insurgents.

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