U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Wednesday that he will present to the White House a new Afghanistan strategy within weeks, including setting new troop levels.
It has been 15 years since US forces were first deployed to Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks, making it the nation's longest-running war.
Mattis admits that even "winning" would not mean US troops could ever actually leave Afghanistan.
The U.S. now has 8,400 troops in Afghanistan. "The delegation of this authority - consistent with the authority President Trump granted me two months ago for Iraq and Syria - does not, at this time, change the troop numbers for Afghanistan".
USA military commanders, who saw fragile security gains eroded under Obama-era troop draw-downs, have been pushing for a new strategy that could see thousands of additional soldiers deploy to Afghanistan to help train and advise beleaguered Afghan partners.
USA media have reported that the Defense Secretary will recommend sending another 3,000-5,000 US troops to break what he has called a "stalemate" between US -backed government forces and the Taliban. "Right now, I believe the enemy is surging". However, Mattis also revealed that he hasn't yet decided whether to send in more troops.
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The team did not immediately respond to an email or voicemail requesting comment. Harreld in the booth", the release said.
The move could lead to a deployment of thousands more troops as commanders decide the way forward in the now 15-year-old war.
The Afghan government was assessed by the US military to control or influence just 59.7 percent of Afghanistan's 407 districts as of Feb 20, a almost 11 percentage-point decrease from the same time in 2016, according to data released by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. That decision, however, has been stalled by the administration's Afghan review and a push for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to contribute more troops.
The United States has about 8,400 troops in Afghanistan and army officials on the ground in the southern Asian country have told Congress that they could use an infusion of forces to bolster support for the Afghan Army.
Despite Mattis telling the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that "we are not winning right now in Afghanistan", beating the Taliban is an unrealistic goal, Barno said. McCain said the U.S.is "not winning" in Afghanistan.
Earlier this year, the Pentagon was considering a request for roughly 3,000 more troops, mainly for training and advising.
U.S. military commanders, who saw fragile security gains eroded under Obama-era troop drawdowns, have been pushing for a new strategy that could see thousands of additional soldiers deploy to Afghanistan to help train and advise beleaguered Afghan partners. "We will correct this as soon as possible", he said.