Afghanistan is America's longest war, beginning in 2001.
"For example, ISIS has established a branch in Khorasan Province, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups remain active inside Afghanistan, and the Taliban continue to pose a challenge to the democratically elected government", he added. Trump has inherited America's longest conflict with no clear endpoint or a defined strategy for American success, though US troop levels are far lower than they were under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
For years after the initial USA -led invasion, former Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas), the leading non-interventionist in Congress, continually noted that no war had been constitutionally authorized within Afghanistan - only the use of force against those responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
Yesterday afternoon, the President directed the Department of Defense to set troop levels in Afghanistan. Will increasing USA troop strength help stabilize Afghanistan, or just perpetuate the conflict?
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The announcement could be made to the public "as early as next week", according to the AP.
"We're not winning in Afghanistan right now and we will correct this as soon as possible".
The finality of the decision isn't entirely clear.
Mattis has repeatedly stressed that increasing the number of USA troops in Afghanistan would take place within a broader, long-term strategy for stabilizing Afghanistan. While Trump has handed over the troop level decision-making, there is nothing preventing him from taking it back. "By regional construct, I mean we consider things, issues from India and Pakistan all the way over to Iran because they're the bordering nations", he said.
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The Times article referred to the exchange between Mattis and Trump during the committee hearing that day, noting that Mattis sought to ease McCain's concerns "by hinting that some troops might be sent as an interim step before the administration's new strategy is finalized". Despite heavy losses, the Taliban fought on.
"We'd like to see if we (can) contribute to the Afghans" success in the summer of "17", Dunford said.
"Reconciliation" remains the goal, Mattis told a House Appropriations panel Thursday, along with reducing Afghan government corruption.
An Afterthought: Let's suppose for a moment that Trump actually wanted to end the Afghan war. Trump will rubber-stamp Mattis's decision, which gives him the ability to blame his generals if and when the Afghan war takes yet another turn that is contrary to United States imperatives.
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The move is another sign of the flexibility the Trump administration has given USA military commanders. Three U.S. soldiers were killed and another was wounded in eastern Afghanistan this weekend in an attack claimed by the Taliban.
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