WASHINGTON – The Pentagon sends nearly 4,000 additional U.s. troops in Afghanistan, an Asset administration official said Thursday, in the hope that it will end a stalemate in a war that has now passed on to a third U.S. commander in chief. The deployment is the largest of the American manpower under the Donald Trump of the young presidency.
The decision of the Minister of Defense of Jim Mattis will be announced as early as next week, the official said. Following Trump’s move to give Mattis the authority to set troop levels, and aims to address the allegations made by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, that he has not enough forces to help the afghan army against a resurgent Taliban insurgents. The increasing threat of the Islamic State extremists, embodied in a rash of deadly attacks in the capital, Kabul, has only fuelled calls for a stronger presence in the united states, just like a number of recent U.s. combat deaths.
The largest part of the extra troops to train and advise the Afghan forces, according to the administration official, who was not authorized to discuss the details of the decision publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. A smaller number would be assigned to counterterror operations against the Taliban and IS, the official said.
Although Trump has the delegated authority for the AMERICAN troop numbers in Afghanistan, the responsibility for America’s wars and the men and women who fight in them rest on his shoulders. Trump has inherited America’s longest conflict with no clear end point or a defined strategy for the American success, although the US troops levels are much lower than they were under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. In 2009, Obama authorized a surge of 30,000 troops in Afghanistan, bringing the total there are more than 100,000, before taking down the rest of his presidency.
Trump has hardly spoken about Afghanistan as a candidate or president, and to concentrate, instead of on the break of the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq. His predecessors had hoped to win the war. Bush scored a quick success, with the help of allied militant groups to get rid of the Taliban shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, before seeing the profits slip away from the American focus shifted to the war in Iraq. In refocusing attention on Afghanistan, Obama eliminated much of the land of the al-Qaida network and the authorized mission of the death of Osama bin laden, but failed to snuff out the Taliban in rebellion.
Mattis the deployment of more troops will be much smaller than Obama.
While the military leaders have always said that more troops are needed, a decision was tied up in a long, broader debate about America’s long-term military, diplomatic and economic strategy for ending the war. Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander there, has said that the forces necessary to properly train and advise the Afghan military and the execution of the works dealt with at a higher cost by contractors. The afghan leaders endorse the idea of more AMERICAN troops, after the loss of important ground to the Taliban in recent months.
But despite repeated questions from Congress this week, Mattis would not reveal his thinking to a troop increase. He said that while the anti-terrorism efforts in Afghanistan are making progress in the weakening of al-Qaeda and IS, “their defeat will come only by giving our men and women on the ground, the support and the agencies that they need to win.”
Obama setting a cap is a year ago of 8,400 troops in Afghanistan after slowing down the pace of what he hoped would be a U.S. withdrawal.
However, there are at least 2,000 other U.S. troops in Afghanistan are not included in the official count. These troops are technically considered temporary, even if they are already in the warzone for months.
Trump’s decision Tuesday to give Mattis authority to force levels in Afghanistan mirrored similar powers for which he is handed over earlier this year for the AMERICAN struggle in Iraq and Syria. The change was made public hours after Sen. John McCain, the Senate Armed Services Committee Republican chairman, blasted Mattis for the administration’s failure to have an overarching strategy for Afghanistan. McCain said that the U.S. is “not winning” in Afghanistan, Mattis agreed.
The finality of the decision is not entirely clear. While Trump has handed over the troop level of decision-making, there is nothing preventing him from taking it again.
Mattis has repeatedly stressed that the increase of the number of AMERICAN troops in Afghanistan would take place within a broader long-term strategy for stabilizing Afghanistan. In congressional testimony this week, he said that the strategy will take into account regional influences, such as Pakistan, the role of the Taliban sanctuary. The regional powers Iran, India, and China, all political interests in the fate of Afghanistan, must also be considered.
While the new forces can raise fears of mission creep, Mattis told lawmakers this week he had not eyes back to the strength levels of 2010-11, when Obama thought that he could the pressure of the Taliban in the peace talks. Despite the heavy losses, the Taliban fought.
“Atonement” is the purpose, Mattis told a House Appropriations panel Thursday, together with a reduction of the Afghan government corruption.
“We are not looking for a military strategy,” he said. “All wars come to an end. It is our job to the end as quickly as possible, without loss of the very mission that we have recognized, through various administrations, which is worth it to those young Americans on the line.”
There are almost 2,400 U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan since 2001. Three AMERICAN soldiers were killed and another wounded in eastern Afghanistan this weekend, in an attack claimed by the Taliban.