Pelosi Meets Top Afghan Officials in Unannounced Visit Day After Talks With Jordanian King

Delegation led by U.S. House speaker's meeting comes day after talks with Jordanian king and as Trump administration's defense secretary also visits country

Nancy Pelosi shakes hands with Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul, Afghanistan October  20, 2019.
Afghan Chief Executive office/Handout via REUTERS

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani met with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a group of American lawmakers making an unannounced visit to the country on Sunday. 

The Afghan government's statement says that Ghani thanked Sunday the delegation for the U.S.'s continued financial and political support for Afghanistan over the past 18 years.

The delegation met with Ghani and Chief Executive Abdallah Abdallah.
Pelosi on her Twitter account said her visit to Afghanistan focused on security, governance and economic development.

The delegation had visited key U.S. ally Jordan the day before.

The U.S. has approximately 14,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of training and advising mission, and to conduct counterterrorism operations against insurgents. Stalled peace talks with the Taliban and unrelenting attacks by the insurgent group and Islamic State militants have complicated the Trump administration's pledge to withdraw more than 5,000 American troops.

President Donald Trump's policies in both the Mideast and Afghanistan have recently drawn bipartisan criticism in Washington.

Also Sunday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper made his initial visit to Afghanistan as Pentagon chief. 

Esper told reporters traveling with him that he believes the U.S. can reduce its force in Afghanistan to 8,600 without hurting the counterterrorism fight against al-Qaida and the Islamic State group. But he said any withdrawal would happen as part of a peace agreement with the Taliban.