A day after President Donald Trump endowed the Pentagon with authority to adjust troop levels in Afghanistan, a Trump administration official told the media that Defense Secretary James Mattis intends to announce an increase in troops in the coming weeks.
“The Pentagon will send almost 4,000 additional American forces to Afghanistan, a Trump administration official said Thursday, hoping to break a stalemate in a war that has now passed to a third U.S. commander in chief,” The Associated Press reported. “The deployment will be the largest of American manpower under Donald Trump’s young presidency.”
While the Pentagon has yet to confirm this, reportedly saying that “no decisions have been made,” an increase in troops level would coincide with the wishes of many of the military’s leading generals, including Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.
Speaking with the Senate Armed Services Committee in February, he argued that “a few thousand more” troops were needed on the ground to break what he and others believe to be a stalemate with Taliban insurgents, according to a report at the time from The New York Times.
Army Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, concurred in his own testimony in March, according to a report from U.S. News and World Report.
“I do believe it will involve additional forces to make the advise-and-assist mission more effective,” Votel said.
The announcement by the Trump administration came only a day after Defense Secretary Mattis informed the same committee that “(w)e are not winning in Afghanistan right now.”
“We recognize the need for urgency,” he said, adding that he plans to unveil a new military strategy by mid-July at the latest.
Asked how the situation in Afghanistan might look in a year from now, Mattis predicted “violence would be down, government corruption would be reduced and the Taliban would be ‘rolled back’, with less freedom of movement on the battlefield,” according to The Guardian.
He added that he would also be pushing for more contributions by NATO members to ensure that future expenses for the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan do “not all (fall) on the backs of American taxpayers.”
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H/T Task & Purpose