Mattis to decide troop levels in Afghanistan

Mattis to decide troop levels in Afghanistan

There are now around 8,400 USA troops in Afghanistan and roughly 5,000 additional North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in the country. The three men belonged to the 101st Airborne Division and were all in their 20s. To date, more than 2,300 Americans have been - the latest only three days ago, when an Afghan soldier opened fire on three United States soldiers ineastern Afghanistan. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Incensed, chairman of the committee, Sen. "We're now six months into [President Donald Trump's] administration, we still haven't got a strategy for Afghanistan". He told senators Tuesday that military officials are taking steps to make sure the delay in the new strategy is not endangering USA troops. The Pentagon has called for 4 billion in general defense funding, with an additional billion for supplemental wartime spending - for a total of 9 billion. "It's hard when we have no strategy to pursue".

The decision is similar to one announced in April that applied to United States troop levels in Iraq and Syria, and came as Mr Mattis warned Congress the US-backed Afghan forces were not beating the Taliban despite more than 15 years of war.

In some cases, Afghan security forces have been forced to abandon the more scattered and rural bases, and the government can claim to control or influence only 57 per cent of the country, according to USA military estimates made earlier this year.

Mattis' comments to the Senate Armed Services Committee come one day after he criticized the House's Armed Services Committee for not providing enough military resources. We are putting it together now and there are actions being taken to make certain that we don't pay a price for the delay.

Mattis, who testified alongside Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph F. Dunford Jr., added that he expects to brief lawmakers about the new strategy in mid-July. "A stable, multi-year budget is needed to fund strategic requirements, current operations, and future modernization efforts".

The Pentagon has called for $574 billion in general defense funding with an additional $65 billion for supplemental wartime spending

The defence chief, who was a Marine combat commander in Afghanistan at the start of the war, stressed America must not walk away from the country and suggested a long-term residual United States force needs to remain to help the Afghan army maintain a baseline of security.

"The most urgent and unsafe threat to peace and security is North Korea", the statement added.

Last week the United States shot down a pro-Syrian government drone that fired toward USA -led coalition forces in Syria, but "hit dirt" and caused no injuries. But the United States and Russian Federation have forged an uneasy, limited relationship in some areas over the past year, including deconflicting aviation operations over Syria as the Pentagon goes after Islamic State militants and Russian Federation backs the Syrian regime. "I did not anticipate it at that time but it was not a surprise to our intelligence people who saw the potential for them to move out in that direction". Still, the Trump administration insists on "rebuilding" the US armed forces. Last week, an F-15E Strike Eagle fired on an Iranian-made drone that had dropped a munition on coalition forces patrolling near the base.

The U.S. focus on North Korea has been sharpened by dozens of North Korean missile launches and two nuclear bomb tests since the beginning of previous year and by Pyongyang's vow to develop a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.

Moreover, he said the USA dominance on land in conventional, high-end combined arms maneuver is "threatened by the introduction of long-range air-to-surface and surface-to-surface guided weapons, advanced armored vehicles and anti-tank weapons, and tactical electronic warfare systems".

Outer space, long considered a sanctuary, is now contested, he said adding that this creates the need to develop capabilities and capacities for more resilient satellites designed to withstand persistent kinetic and non- kinetic attack.

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