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Mattis: New Military Strategy for Afghanistan to be Ready by Mid-July

Mattis: New Military Strategy for Afghanistan to be Ready by Mid-July

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says government forces in Afghanistan are unable to defeat Taliban insurgents despite more than fifteen years of war. He is telling Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that unless the Pentagon sends Congress a strategy soon, the department will "get a strategy from us". There are presently just under 10,000 US service members in the Asian nation.

Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) questioned whether the USA is throwing good money after bad in Afghanistan, because the Pentagon doesn't appear to have a strategy. An April report by Reuters said anonymous officials revealed the Trump administration was carrying out a review of Afghanistan strategies, with discussions revolving around sending 3,000 to 5,000 more troops into the region. "And we will correct this as soon as possible". "We recognize the need for urgency, and your criticism is fair, sir". Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of USA forces in Afghanistan, told lawmakers in February that he needed a surge of a "few thousand" troops to break an impasse in the US -led mission.

McCain noted there are "problems within this administration" when it comes to determining a strategy. "I was confident that within the first 30 to 60 days we would have a strategy from which to start working".

US Defense Secretary James Mattis has acknowledged that the United States is "not winning" in the war in Afghanistan. "It's yours", he said.

On Saturday, the Taliban claimed responsibility for an insider attack in which an Afghan commando turned his weapon on American troops, killing three and wounding another. The deaths were blamed on an Afghan soldier opening fire on the USA service members. "All the while, terrorist groups murder the innocent and threaten peace in many regions and target us".

In February, General John Nicholson, who commands North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in Afghanistan, warned that he needs "a few thousand" more troops to reverse what he called a stalemate. The head of the Pentagon expressed before the Chamber of Representatives Armed Services Committee, that he was amazed, because of the lack of training of the U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan to fight, after years of military budget cuts.

Since April, six USA servicemembers have been killed in eastern Afghanistan, where the United States is working with Afghan forces to conduct counterterrorism operations against the Taliban and Islamic State forces there.

At Tuesday's hearing, Mattis said the administration believes Congress must "repeal the Budget Control Act and sequestration that follows" before the military can begin to reverse this long period of decay. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), advocated against pulling out of Afghanistan. Unclassified space spending - most of it managed by the U.S. Air Force - would total $7.75 billion in 2018, a roughly 25 percent increase over 2017 levels.

Mattis agreed it would be wrong to "walk away" from Afghanistan.

"It would be a war like nothing we have seen since 1953 and we would have to deal with it with whatever level of force was necessary ... They come out and threaten all of us; they threaten the world order; they threaten our economy; they threaten our very country".

What would winning look like?

Congress must take into account external factors that influence budget deliberations, Mattis said.

Mattis said, "Constrained budgets and acquisition regulations have limited our ability to keep pace with rapid changes and sustain our competitive advantage". Dunford said that the USA must support the Afghan forces as they develop the capabilities.


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