Acting Pentagon chief makes first Afghanistan trip as U.S. seeks peace deal

KABUL, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Patrick Shanahan arrived in Afghanistan on Monday on his first trip as acting U.S. defence secretary and said it was important the Afghan government is involved in talks, from which it has so far been sidelined, to end the 17-year-old war.

"It is important that the Afghan government is involved in discussions regarding Afghanistan," Shanahan told a small group of reporters travelling with him on the unannounced trip.

He said the United States has important security interests in the region and wanted to hear from commanders on the ground.

Shanahan replaced Jim Mattis, who quit in December over policy differences with U.S. President Donald Trump. He will meet U.S. military officials and the Afghan leadership, including President Ashraf Ghani. (Reporting by Idrees Ali in Kabul Editing by Greg Torode and Paul Tait)