APNewsBreak: About 4000 more US troops to go to Afghanistan

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday that President Donald Trump is still fully engaged on Afghanistan despite his delegation of authority on strategy and troop levels to the military.

Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee "we are not winning" in Afghanistan, citing an increase in attacks by the Taliban. However, the top USA commander in Afghanistan, Army General John Nicholson, has said that several thousand more are needed to support the Afghan security forces.

President Trump and Defense Secretary Mattis attend a Cabinet meeting, Monday, June 12, 2017, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington.

This week Mattis told Congress that by mid-July he might have an idea of how many more US troops could be needed after the administration concludes a review of its Afghanistan strategy.

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 USA forces, working with Afghan forces, are able to provide local security after several years of "frequent skirmishing" with the Taliban and other insurgent forces. He said Trump administration's primary national interest and the worldwide interest in Afghanistan is ensuring it does not become an "ungoverned space" from which attacks can again be launched against the U.S., other nations or the Afghan people.

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

"We would have to change the priorities, we would have to put it in a more regional construct".

"We will define the way ahead, and I will set the military commitment" in Afghanistan, Mattis said in repeating an earlier statement.

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While the Trump administration may not be going fast enough in developing a more "winning" strategy in Afghanistan for McCain's liking, it is apparent that the hawkish McCain's disagreement with Mattis and Trump is more over timing than major substantive points, including whether US troops should be in Afghanistan at all.

The report went on to state that the Pentagon later developed a plan to send 3,000 to 5,000 more us troops to Afghanistan, including hundreds of Special Operations forces.

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. Three U.S. soldiers were killed and another was wounded in eastern Afghanistan this weekend in an attack claimed by the Taliban. A United States military presence has persisted in the country ever since.

For years after the initial US -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. In late April President Trump delegated to Mattis the authority for troop levels in Iraq and Syria.

"I think there's going to have to be an adequate ground force, but I don't think it should be primarily American", McChrystal said.

ABC News looks at the change and whether anything will change in the USA military posture in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

Paul's 2015 commentary is still relevant: "Why are we still at war in Afghanistan?"

  • Adam Floyd