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

Jerome Frank
May 10, 2017

The plan also calls for USA officials to have greater authority to order airstrikes; for the Pentagon, not the White House, to set the number of US troops in Afghanistan; and for military advisers to have greater mobility in the country.

Thomas said more troops would send a signal to the US -backed Afghan government. At the same time they want to give commanders more authority to launch air strikes or mount special operations.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has suggested he would oppose sending fresh British troops to Afghanistan, telling journalists it would not help to resolve the conflict.

The review comes after the Taliban have made significant advances.

The troops' mission would mostly be to increase training of Afghan troops on the ground.

The proposals for a mini-surge are expected to be delivered to Donald Trump this week.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer dismissed a reporter for asking a "very Washington question" on Tuesday when she inquired about a possible US troop surge in Afghanistan.

But General Raymond Thomas, commander of the US Special Operations Command, controls-one-third-of-afghan-population-as-trump-considers-sending-more-troops%2F&v=1&" target="_blank">told the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last week that the new Trump administration could permit more direct engagement between US forces and the Taliban.

More than 30 other nations have a total of some 5,000 troops participating in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission, with Italy, Germany and Georgia among the biggest contributors. It's a big shift in strategy to confront the Taliban with more force and break a deadlock in the 15-year-old war.

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The Taliban is now reckoned to control up to a third of the entire country.

"The world has a commitment to try and prop up a stable Afghan government and this small number of troops is a contributing factor", Glanville said.

United States combat operations against the Taliban officially ended in 2014, but special forces have continued to provide support to Afghan troops. "And you say, 'What are we doing there?' We're spending hundreds of billions of dollars, trillions of dollars on this nonsense". Their mission, officials said, would be to halt Taliban progress and pressure the group to come to the negotiating table.

The only answer was to pursue regional diplomacy in an effort to broker a political settlement. "Let them continue to dig themselves into the hole". But I do know what comes next: More flag-draped coffins landing at Dover, mothers crying over sons and daughters they have lost, and the tribute posts for years to come in honor of our brothers and sisters who never came back.

Mattis said the key to turning around the war in Afghanistan was shoring up the stability of the government of President Ashraf Ghani while accelerating a military campaign meant to drive the Taliban to peace negotiations. However, the increase seems to go against Trump's "American first" doctrine. On April 13, he authorized the dropping of the largest ever non-nuclear bomb over an ISIS stronghold in Afghanistan.

However, analysts believe the Taliban remains a far greater threat. Last month, 140 Afghan soldiers were massacred in the northern part of the country.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is already considering whether to dispatch more troops.

It is unclear whether the president will support the plan.

"We want to maintain that partnership with Afghanistan and we want to ensure that Afghanistan reaches its potential, so that's the objective of the strategy", she added.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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