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:  OK. 

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.