Latest on Afghanistan options expected to hit Trump's desk this week

15 Mai, 2017, 23:54 | Author: Claudine Rigal
  • A U.S. soldier mans a gun at the back gate aboard the helicopter carrying U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis as he arrives via helicopter at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul Afghanistan

About 8,500 US troops and another 5,000 troops from foreign allies are still stationed in Afghanistan, even though the official combat mission there ended in 2014.

Members of the Senate Armed Services committee are waiting to hear from President Donald Trump about how he and his military want to handle the situation in Afghanistan, but lawmakers appear open to the idea of sending additional forces to the region.

Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, wants an infusion of USA and allied troops to bolster support for the Afghan army.

Stoltenberg said Wednesday that "we have received a request from our military authorities to increase our military presence in Afghanistan with a few thousand troops".

The British Prime Minister and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation official also discussed what more North Atlantic Treaty Organisation can do in the fight against terrorism, pointing out that major decisions should be made in the coming weeks.

"NATO needs to contribute the majority of the forces", the official said on the condition of anonymity.

"We are now looking into requests regarding some areas like more education, for the military academies, but also training special operation forces and air forces".

Additional troop levels will likely be a topic of discussion at the May 25 summit of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders in Brussels. The recommendation of his top advisers was first reported by the Washington Post.

Any change in the USA strategy in Afghanistan would have to be signed off on by President Donald Trump. The cost would be in the billions, and troop surges have failed in the past. He's delegated troop decisions to the military itself, so that they stop bothering him, and the "review" of military operations in Afghanistan seems to be proceeding much like the "review" of refugee vetting his team insisted was the whole reason for instituting a Muslim-specific travel ban: it's gone missing.

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The group said it would use military and political tactics and that its main target would be foreign forces. Pulling back would also put Trump at odds with generals whom he embraced and turned to for national security advice.

The United States military is set to propose a ramping up of the war in Afghanistan in a renewed effort to break a stalemate with the Taliban.

The question is whether U.S. and Afghan forces, even if bolstered by a new strategy involving more troops and authorities to target the Taliban, can bring enough pressure to push the war toward a settlement. Instead, it waited for Obama to make good on his promise to start withdrawing USA forces, then went on the offensive.

To fix these problems, Trump's most senior advisors have formulated a plan to send thousands more USA troops to Afghanistan that can train lower level units. "So fight with the Taliban is not the way to solve the problem; we should solve it by talking with them". Lieut Gen HR McMaster, Trump's national security adviser, led an anti-corruption task force in Afghanistan and is especially sensitive to the need for better governance in Kabul.

The city's troubled recent history with the Taliban in many ways underscores the entire US effort in Afghanistan.

The generals, however, are not the only ones who favour a stronger commitment to Afghanistan.

The U.S. says it has 8,400 troops in Afghanistan, one-quarter of which are for the counterterrorism mission. The Taliban killed thousands of U.S soldiers in Afghanistan, and the Taliban has the support of Pakistan.

"We would like to be able to advise below the corps level", Nicholson told Congress earlier this spring. Currently, advisers are working with Afghans mostly at the command level of the army corps.

"What I would like to be able to do when I go to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is say, 'This is the USA plan for 2017 and beyond, and this is the requirement identified by the commanders", Dunford said.

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