The Department of Defense is expected to send an additional 4,000 troops to Afghanistan "as early as next week", a US official told the Associated Press on June 15, just one day after President Donald Trump handed the authority to determine troop levels in the war-torn country over to Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
But General Raymond Thomas, commander of the US Special Operations Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last month that the new Trump administration could permit more direct engagement between US forces and the Taliban.
According to the Associated Press, most of the new US forces deployed across the country will focus on the usual "advise and assist" functions that have become a staple of current training missions in Iraq and Syria, while a small portion will execute "counter-terror operations against the Taliban and [ISIS]".
A Trump administration official told the Associated Press that Secretary of Defense James Mattis is likely to make the troop deployment announcement early next week.
McCain, one of the Senate's most outspoken interventionists on foreign policy, expressed noticeable frustration with what he perceives as a failed USA military strategy in Afghanistan, telling Mattis during the hearing, "We're now six months into this administration".
Mattis testified to Congress that the Taliban "had a good year last year" and that "winning", which we're now not doing, is a scenario in which U.S. forces, working with Afghan forces, are able to provide local security after several years of "frequent skirmishing" with the Taliban and other insurgent forces. McCain said the U.S.is "not winning" in Afghanistan, and Mattis agreed.
As such, Mattis is looking to end the war as soon as possible.
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This decision is part of a broader strategy we are developing that addresses our role in Afghanistan and beyond.
The Pentagon will send nearly 4,000 additional American.
A resurgent Taliban coupled with Islamic State militants have challenged US forces in the region and are taking back territory formerly under control of USA and Afghan troops.
Trump, who has spoken against the Afghan war, has dubbed the 2001 invasion and following occupation of Afghanistan as "Obama's war", but now his administration is sending thousands of more troops to the war-torn country, signaling a policy shift. In late April President Trump delegated to Mattis the authority for troop levels in Iraq and Syria.
"If that means we have to keep [U.S.] advisers with them a little longer, then 9/11 taught us the cost of not paying attention to this problem".
Paul - continuing the same argument his father had long used - said that while the United States "had a clear cut mission" in Afghanistan following the attacks of September 11, 2001, "that's been long gone for many years now".
"I think this goes to a bigger question and this is the question President Obama should have to answer: Why are we still at war in Afghanistan?"