He stressed that a new strategy for Afghanistan emphasizing a "regional approach" worked out with Pakistan and India and in concert with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would be presented for Trump's approval in mid-July.
The announcement could be made to the public "as early as next week", according to the AP. "What is the USA objective, what's the USA mission and why are we bombing anybody in Afghanistan?" The current number stands at approximately 8,400.
Four months ago, Army Gen. John Nicholson, who commands USA and global forces in Afghanistan, said he needed several thousand more troops.
In the near-term, Mattis will likely send more troops ("trainers" and "advisers") and more money, promising that this time American training and methods will work, that this time corruption will be curtailed, that this time the Taliban will be neutralized (I doubt Mattis is foolish enough to promise "victory").
But General Raymond Thomas, commander of the US Special Operations Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last month that the new Trump administration could permit more direct engagement between US forces and the Taliban. "Our job is to end it as quickly as possible without losing the very mission that we've recognized, through several administrations, that was worth putting those young Americans on the line for", he said.
This week Defense Secretary James Mattis was authorized by President Trump to increase the number of USA troops there, following up on recommendations by Gen. John Nicholson, the US commander in Afghanistan. He said Trump administration's primary national interest and the worldwide interest in Afghanistan is ensuring it does not become an "ungoverned space" from which attacks can again be launched against the USA, other nations or the Afghan people.
Interior head suggests reducing Bears Ears National Monument
Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, representing oil and gas companies, said Zinke's approach was sensible. The review is likely to add fuel to a heated national debate over Washington's role in America's wildest spaces.
But over time the caps kept rising to meet the need for additional troops as the scope of the mission kept growing.
Mattis' deployment of more troops will be far smaller than Obama's.
More troops for Afghanistan?In late April President Trump delegated to Mattis the authority for troop levels in Iraq and Syria.
Earlier this week President Trump also delegated to Mattis the authority for troop levels in Afghanistan. Three U.S. soldiers were killed and another was wounded in eastern Afghanistan this weekend in an attack claimed by the Taliban.
The United States - under Republican George W. Bush's presidency - and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington's so-called war on terror.
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