'Acting' on world stage as Pentagon's Shanahan makes debut

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2019, file photo, acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan speaks with the media as he waits for the arrival of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon's top official, Shanahan, has arrived in Afghanistan to meet with U.S. commanders and Afghan leaders amid a push for peace with the Taliban. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

At an extraordinary moment in Pentagon history, Pat Shanahan, a former business chief with little political stature and no military experience, is making his international debut as the acting U.S. secretary of defense

KABUL, Afghanistan — At an extraordinary moment in Pentagon history, a former business executive with little political stature and without military experience is making his international debut as the acting U.S. defense secretary.

Pat Shanahan was in Afghanistan's capital on Monday, meeting with Afghan leaders and American military commanders and diplomats. Next up is a NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels and then an international security conference in Germany.

It was Shanahan's first-ever visit to Afghanistan, where American troops have been at war for 17 years and the Trump administration is pushing for a peace deal with the Taliban.

Shanahan's performance on the global stage could influence whether President Donald Trump elevates the longtime Boeing executive from his uncertain status as interim Pentagon leader to be the administration's nominee to replace Jim Mattis.

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