About 4000 more US troops to go to Afghanistan

Pauline Gross
June 17, 2017

White was referring to President Trump's granting Mattis authority on Tuesday to set troop levels in Afghanistan, matching a similar responsibility the defense chief was given in April for troop levels in Iraq and Syria. But he will also be the first to hand off to his defense secretary key decisions on the number of troops to deploy, and the strategic aims they'll be sent there to achieve.

In an October 2015 interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, the younger Paul - who was a presidential candidate at the time - maintained that the United States should no longer be fighting the war in Afghanistan and that "the Afghans need to step it up and defend themselves".

The first government after the Taliban's ouster was made up of commanders of various ethnic backgrounds, all with powerful militias, while ethnic Pashtuns were represented by then-President Hamid Karzai, who was without a militia and politically dependent on the USA and the powerful commanders of the so-called Northern Alliance, which had been allied with the US -led coalition against the Taliban. More recently, US military leaders have testified before Congress that the U.S.is losing the war. He added it is hoped members of Congress can be briefed on a new plan for USA involvement in Afghanistan by mid-July. They're serving alongside another 5,000 troops from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces.

Alluding to the continuing evolving threats, he said ISIS has established a branch in Khorasan Province, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups remain active inside Afghanistan, and the Taliban continue to pose a challenge to the democratically elected government.

Why bring the authority back to the Pentagon?

The newly proposed deployment levels are on par with US troop strength in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2004, but faced with a resurgent Taliban and a growing ISIS presence, that may not be enough to shift the tide - and securing the country, again, shouldn't be the sole responsibility of American troops on the ground, again, McChrystal argued.

A Pentagon spokesman, Christopher Sherwood, said no decision has been made yet.

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"It's fundamentally unfair to ask young Americans to risk their lives for a strategy that isn't working, for a mission that isn't clear, and for a result that is yet to be defined", he said.

Afghanistan is America's longest war, beginning in 2001.

Earlier this week, President Trump delegated to Mattis the authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan.

The defense secretary also acknowledged that the Trump administration is in a "strategy free time" concerning Afghanistan.

Mattis explained that while President Trump had delegated to him "the details of forces that will be allocated to support what he approves finally as a strategy" for Afghanistan, "I assure you this is not a carte blanche for me to come up with numbers that are going into this".

Roughly 8,400 USA service members are deployed to Afghanistan, to advise Afghan forces and carry out targeted counterterrorism operations against the Taliban and other insurgent forces. However, the top USA commander in Afghanistan, Army General John Nicholson, has said that several thousand more are needed to support the Afghan security forces.

Other reports by GizPress

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