U.S. President Donald Trump's defense chief, Jim Mattis, said bad weather had forced him to scrap a visit to Afghanistan on Sunday.
“We’re putting our thoughts together now,” Mattis told reporters in Abu Dhabi during his first trip as U.S. defence chief to the Middle East.
He added that he spoke for several hours on Sunday via video-link with the American commander of international forces in Afghanistan, John Nicholson, but gave no details. A day before, he also spoke with Ghani “at length” before leaving Minch, Germany.
Earlier this month, Nicholson requested several thousand new troops to train Afghan forces.
Currently, 8,400 U.S. troops in Afghanistan after most of the international left the country in 2014 to change combat mission largely to train, advise and assist local forces.
Emboldened by the withdrawal, Taliban insurgents stepped up their attacks taking more territories in the country than any time in the past. Islamic State militant group has also established a stronghold in the country.
Mattis said he is compiling an assessment for President Trump on Afghanistan.
“He’s waiting for my assessment and the assessment from the intelligence community and he’s open to my advice on it,” he said. “But first of all I’ve got to formulate where I stand.”
According to the senior U.S. official, the Afghan security forces “paid a heavy price to keep the Taliban on their back foot. But they paid it, the held.”
“And the Taliban’s in a worse position today, even though I do not equate that to success on our side,” he added.