The pentagon agreed to send almost 4,000 additional U.S. forces to Afghanistan, with hopes to end the stalemate in a war that is now in the hands of a third U.S. Commander in Chief.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to announce the decision early next week. The decision follows the Presidents move in handing over authority to Mattis to set troop levels and seeks to address assertions by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan that he doesn’t have enough forces to help Afghanistan’s army against the resurgent Taliban. The bulk of the additional troops will train and advise Afghan forces, according to the administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity. A smaller number would be assigned to counterterrorism operations against the Taliban and the Islamic State, the official said.
The rising threat posed by islamic State extremist, evidenced in a rash of deadly attacks in the capital city, Kabul, has fueled calls for a stronger U.S. presence, as have several recent American deaths.
The top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, has made it clear that the troops are necessary to properly train and advise the Afghan military and perform work handled at greater cost by contractors. Afghan leaders endorse the idea of more U.S. troops, having lost significant ground to the Taliban in recent months.
The Associated Press