US defense chief in Afghanistan to assess the way ahead

KABUL, Afghanistan — U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has arrived in Kabul to assess what comes next for the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

Peace talks with the Taliban are stalled and persistent violent attacks by the insurgent group and Islamic State militants have complicated the Trump administration's pledge to withdraw more than American 5,000 troops.

Esper tells reporters traveling with him that he believes the U.S. can reduce its...