Media Availability with Acting Secretary Shanahan before Enhanced Honor Cordon with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg
Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan
ACTING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE PATRICK SHANAHAN: We’re going to have a nice meeting with the secretary-general today.
Q: Do you expect to be discussing Afghanistan? And what can you tell us about everything we're hearing about your planning for some changes in -- in Afghanistan?
SEC. SHANAHAN: We're going to -- I'm going to share with the secretary-general all the things that are going on here in the department, and also things that are going on in the State Department.
So a lot of this is really making sure we stay in tight coordination with our coalition partners...
Q: Can you -- can you tell us anything about the department's planning for potential troop withdrawals or troop drawdowns in Afghanistan?
SEC. SHANAHAN: I'm going to -- I'm going to wait until after -- after the meeting. But we might have a chance this week to talk about some of that.
Q: Last -- last year at this time, NATO launched a winter offensive in Afghanistan for the first time in the war. And this year, a year later, it's the Taliban that has a winter offensive. What changed so dramatically to shift the focus like that?
SEC. SHANAHAN: Well, I was going to say that hopefully later on this week, when we get together, we can talk about some of the encouraging conversations that are going on with the Taliban.
Q: Have you been briefed on the talks with Zalmay Khalilzad? What the agreements are about this basic framework?
SEC. SHANAHAN: I have had...
Q: Can you tell us some of the basics of it?
SEC. SHANAHAN: I'd say, really, the -- the takeaway right now, it's encouraging. And we'll let Secretary Pompeo and the ambassador will be the spokespersons for that.
Q: But have you been tasked...
SEC. SHANAHAN: All right, I'm going to run over here. All right.
Q: Have you been tasked yet to prepare for a full withdrawal, or no?
SEC. SHANAHAN: I have not.
Q: OK. Thank you.