US Secretary of State John Kerry is making an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, where he is to meet rival leaders of the government, President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, AP reports. It is John Kerry’s second unannounced trip in recent days, after he visited Iraq for two days. The visit to Kabul was Kerry’s second unannounced stop in two days. On Friday, he went to Baghdad as the government readied a military offensive to retake Mosul from the Islamic State. Like Afghanistan, Iraq is grappling with economic, political and security crises. The secrecy in advance of Kerry’s visits underscored the precarious security and political instability in the two countries that the United States invaded after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 9, 2001. In Kabul, Kerry is to meet with Foreign Minister Salhuddin Rabbani for the U.S.-Afghanistan Bilateral Commission, the framework for discussing the relationship between the two countries. “The meeting is an opportunity for U.S. and Afghan leaders to discuss areas of mutual interest and cooperation, and to outline progress in the areas highlighted in our Strategic Partnership Agreement: security and defense, democracy and governance, and social and economic development,” said State Department spokesman John Kirby. Kerry also will meet with President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, two political rivals uneasily share power in an arrangement that has created a government riven by infighting. Kirby said Kerry will stress U.S. support for the Afghan government and security forces, and how to drum up international donations at coming summits in Warsaw and Brussels. They also will discuss the faltering attempts to hold peace talks with the Taliban and end years of conflict, Kirby said. There are currently 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, down from 150,000 at the peak and a level President Obama wants to maintain through the fighting season. They are to be whittled down to 5,500 by the beginning of next year, when a new administration will determine troop levels. U.S. officials maintain that Afghanistan has made strides since the U.S. invasion in 2001. “If we look at the sort of experience the international community, and specifically our country has had in Afghanistan over the past 15 years, we want to take account of the advances that have been made in development, particularly health and education, electricity, communications,” said Richard Olson, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. “It really is a very changed society.” But economic and security challenges have gotten in the way. The poverty rate has risen to 49 percent as foreign troops have withdrawn, leaving thousands of Afghans unemployed. Government forces have gone on the offensive against Islamic militants, many of whom are said to be disaffected Taliban. But prospective peace talks have stalled. After sitting down to negotiate last year, the Taliban have refused to return, saying they will not negotiate while foreign troops are in the country. Fighting between government troops and the insurgents has caused hundreds of schools to close, and propelled an exodus of Afghans seeking a better life elsewhere. Afghans make up at least one in five migrants arriving in Europe, second only to Syrians.