Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Monday called for the international community to help end the war in Afghanistan and aid regional leaders in their efforts to bridge longstanding disagreements, saying that conflicts in Afghanistan have now gone on for “40 years.”
“In Afghanistan, it’s gone on now it’s approaching 40 years; 40 years is enough and it’s time for everyone to get on board, support the United Nations, support Prime Minister Modi, support President Ghani and all those who are trying to maintain peace and make for a better world here. So, we are on that track,” Mattis told reporters ahead of a meeting with his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman.
The U.S. has had a military presence in Afghanistan for 17 years, since 2001, when it removed the Taliban government from power, but Afghanistan has been in conflict since the late 1970s when U.S.-backed Afghan guerillas repelled the Soviet Union from the country in a nine-year battle.
Since the U.S. has had a presence, however, troops have been bogged down in an insurgency waged by the Taliban and other armed groups.