Taliban sending signs it is interested in Afghan peace …


KABUL — The United States is picking up signs of interest from Taliban elements in exploring the possibility of talks with Kabul to end the more than 16-year-old war, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Tuesday as he made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan.

“There is interest that we’ve picked up from the Taliban side,” Mattis told reporters before landing in Kabul, saying the signs dated back several months.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani offered talks without preconditions with the Taliban insurgents last month, in what was seen by U.S. officials as a major overture from Kabul.

Image: U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis lands in Kabul on Tuesday.