Trump gives Pentagon freedom to set troop numbers in Afghanistan | Americas| North and South American news impacting on Europe | DW | 13.06.2017
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages

Americas

Trump gives Pentagon freedom to set troop numbers in Afghanistan

President Donald Trump will give the Pentagon freedom to set troop numbers as the war in Afghanistan moves into a new phase. Pentagon chief Jim Mattis had asked for more troops amid concerns from lawmakers.

Watch video 00:50
Now live
00:50 mins.

Mattis: The US is "not winning" in Afghanistan

Trump reportedly on Tuesday granted the Pentagon authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan, a move that could lead to the deployment of thousands more soldiers, an anonymous source told the French news agency AFP.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had told frustrated senators earlier on Tuesday that the US was "not winning" the war in Afghanistan, amidst a push to send more troops to stabilize the country. The call for additional soldiers comes as Mattis prepares to unveil a new Afghanistan strategy in July.

Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee at a hearing on the Pentagon's budget, Mattis warned that the "Taliban had a good year last year, they are trying to have a good one this year."

"Right now I believe the enemy is surging," he said, referring to the Taliban as well as the so-called "Islamic State" also trying to gain a foothold in the country.

Read: Afghan soldier kills three US soldiers in shooting

Mattis' plea comes a few months after the NATO commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, warned "a few thousand" more troops would be necessary to roll back gains made by the Taliban in recent years.

Although former US President Barack Obama was praised for the decision to wind down US involvement in the highly unpopular conflict, insurgents have used the troop pullback to make significant military gains.

But his successor, Donald Trump, was also under fire for his strategy, or lack thereof, on Tuesday.

 "We're now six months into this administration; we still haven't got a strategy for Afghanistan," said Republican Senator John McCain. "Unless we get a strategy from you, you're going to get a strategy from us."

Read: Taliban civil servant has role in new Afghan government

Secretary Mattis, a former marine combat commander in Afghanistan, characterized the current phase of the war as that of "frequent skirmishing," necessitating "a change in approach" that he hopes to formally announce next month.

The Afghanistan war is the longest conflict in American history, already underway for 16 years without a clear end in sight. The US currently has around 8,400 troops in the country.

es/rt/jbh (AP, AFP)

DW recommends

Audios and videos on the topic

ADVERTISEMENT