Trump gives Mattis power to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan

Trump gives Mattis power to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan

Trump gives Mattis power to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan

On Tuesday it was widely reported that Trump had given Secretary of Defense James Mattis the power to determine US force levels in Afghanistan.

"Together in the interagency, we will define the way ahead and I will set the USA military commitment, consistent with the commander in chief strategic direction and the foreign policy as dictated by secretary of State Tillerson", said Mattis here at a congressional hearing.

Mattis announced the decision at a Senate committee hearing.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that U.S President Donald Trump had given Mattis the authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan, opening the door for future troop increases.

The following is a statement given by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis regarding troop levels in Afghanistan.

The issue of troop levels became especially sensitive in the Obama administration because precise so-called "force management levels" were set for U.S. deployments to Iraq and Syria. Mattis can also end the current cap on Afghanistan troop levels.

One of the most critical decisions facing (sigh) Donald Trump is how to prosecute our nation's military actions against terrorist groups like al-Qaida, the Taliban, and ISIS. Mattis promised a new approach by July, but the real question is that after the 2009 surge of 100,000 United States troops, what kind of victory might be achieved by yet another surge, this time of perhaps 5-6,000?

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Earlier this year, the Pentagon was considering a request for roughly 3,000 more troops, mainly for noncombat duties such as training and advising.

Mattis, when pressed again about the plan, said getting a government-wide strategy can't be done quickly, and that there are ongoing efforts to ensure North Atlantic Treaty Organisation participation so that it's "not all on the backs of American taxpayers". "We will define the way ahead, and I will set the military commitment" in concert with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson under a new strategy to shore up the Afghan defense forces and the Kabul government. That decision, however, has been stalled by the administration's Afghan review and a push for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to contribute more troops.

President Barack Obama ended the USA combat role in Afghanistan in 2014.

On Russia, Mattis said, "This sort of misbehaviour has got to face consequences, and not just by the United States but more broadly". The increased fight has led to a recent string of American deaths.

As of February, the U.S. military assessed that the Afghan government was in control of or influenced 59.7 percent of Afghanistan's 407 districts, almost an 11 percent-point decrease from the same time in 2016, according to data released by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

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