Mattis Gets OK to Send More Troops to Afghanistan

Mattis Gets OK to Send More Troops to Afghanistan

Mattis Gets OK to Send More Troops to Afghanistan

Secretary of Defense James Mattis blamed former President Barack Obama for the ongoing disaster in Afghanistan when speaking to a Senate Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday.

And the New York Times reports President Trump has given Mattis the authority to determine how many more troops he needs.

US troop levels would not return to the 100,000-plus deployed troops seen at the height of the Afghanistan War, Mattis said. Mattis said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies are waiting for a new strategy from the additional US and the USA force commitment before publicly declaring their own.

U.S. military commanders have been pushing for a new strategy that could see thousands of additional soldiers deploy to Afghanistan to help train local forces.

Mattis said he would present a revised strategy to Trump for his approval by mid-July. Afghanistan's intelligence has service blamed the Haqqani Network, which is supported by Pakistan's main spy agency, for the attack.

"This administration will not repeat the mistakes of the past", Mattis said.

"Afghanistan welcomes the decision by president Trump to give Defence Secretary General James Mattis the authority to set USA military troop levels in Afghanistan, a development that underscores the United States' strong commitment to our two countries' long-term joint efforts to defeat common enemies and bring about peace and stability", Afghanistan's Ambassador to America Hamdullah Mohib said.

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Christine Wormuth, the Pentagon's top policy official from 2014 to 2016, expressed confidence in Mattis' judgment and said she wouldn't be bothered by an arrangement in which the president gave his defense secretary the authority to adjust troop levels within a broad range set by the White House. "We are there to help defeat a common enemy and ensure Afghan forces can safeguard the future of their country".

Afghanistan is not Vietnam, and the costs of maintaining a few extra thousand troops in the country might end up being pretty low compared with the blood and treasure we've already spent there.

"If all we are doing is tinkering around at the margin of a strategy that amounts to 'Muddle through and hope for a miracle, ' then 3,000 to 5,000 troops are not going to make a difference", Stephen Biddle, a professor at George Washington University and an Afghanistan expert, told AFP.

U.S. troops in Afghanistan number about 8,400 today, and there are another 5,000 from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, who mainly serve in a training and advisory capacity.

The US now has some 8,400 troops in Afghanistan. However, there is also talk that more authority on the ground could be given to these troops who are in a train, advise and assist capacity. That decision, however, stalled amid the administration's Afghan review and a push for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to contribute more troops.

Jason Dempsey, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and veteran Army infantry officer, voiced similar concerns. "I'm fighting as hard as I can to increase defense spending", McCain.

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