About 4000 more US troops to go to Afghanistan

Katrina Barker
June 16, 2017

Force Management Levels Mattis will be responsible for setting what are formally known as the "Force Management Level" or FML for American troops in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. In refocusing attention on Afghanistan, Obama eliminated much of the country's al-Qaida network and authorized the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, but failed to snuff out the Taliban's rebellion.

The offensive removed the Taliban regime from power, but after more than one and-a-half-decade, the foreign troops are still deployed to the country.

While military leaders have consistently said more forces are needed, a decision had been tied up in a lengthy, wider debate about America's long-term military, diplomatic and economic strategy for ending the war. Will increasing US troop strength help stabilize Afghanistan, or just perpetuate the conflict?

Though the invasion wrested control of most of the country from the Taliban, bin Laden fled the country and went into hiding in Pakistan until captured and killed by USA special forces in 2011.

But despite repeated questions from Congress this week, Mattis wouldn't reveal his thinking on a troop increase.

We are making progress in degrading these groups, but their defeat will come about only by giving our men and women on the ground the support and the authorities they need to win. The current number stands at approximately 8,400.

Marine Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last month that it if the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries decide to increase forces they should be prepared to do so quickly. Mattis' statement was made during a tense exchange with the committee's chairman, John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Insisting that the United States can not allow Afghanistan to once again become a launching point for attacks on USA homeland and it's allies, Mattis said "We are making progress in degrading these groups, but their defeat will come about only by giving our men and women on the ground the support and the authorities they need to win".

The finality of the decision isn't entirely clear.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., voiced concerns about civilian control of the military and said Trump's delegation of authority to set troop levels to the military gave him pause. In an effort to prevent a full-out combat mission and to stress the advisory role of the US military presence, the Obama administration placed very specific limits on the number of troops sent to Iraq. "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. Despite heavy losses, the Taliban fought on.

"And we will do so", the Pentagon chief said before the House subpanel. We still haven't got a strategy for Afghanistan.

An Afterthought: Let's suppose for a moment that Trump actually wanted to end the Afghan war.

As such, Mattis is looking to end the war as soon as possible.

The move is another sign of the flexibility the Trump administration has given US military commanders.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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