Defense Secretary Mattis Tells Senate Committee: "We Are Not Winning in Afghanistan".
16 June, 2017, 06:28 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
Testifying before the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, the former four-star general said Washington's war policy for Afghanistan and its impact could no longer be limited to within the country's borders. We recalled the reason why our nation sent troops to Afghanistan originally, noting that we invaded the country in October 2001 in response to the Taliban government's refusal to hand over Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaeda and supposed mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Trump has inherited America's longest conflict with no clear endpoint or a defined strategy for American success, though USA troop levels are far lower than they were under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Rather, it ensures the Department of Defense can facilitate our missions and align our commitment to the rapidly evolving security situation, giving our troops greater latitude to provide air power and other vital support.
Trump's decision Tuesday to give Mattis authority to set force levels in Afghanistan mirrored similar powers he handed over earlier this year for USA fights in Iraq and Syria.
Nevertheless, there are at least another 2,000 US troops in Afghanistan not included in the official count.
There are about 8,400 US troops in Afghanistan now in addition to several thousand troops from allied countries.
The caps became most visible after the US military returned to Iraq in 2014 to train and advise the Iraqi military in the fight against ISIS.
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And we will correct this as soon as possible. Mattis' statement was made during a tense exchange with the committee's chairman, John McCain (R-Ariz.). In an effort to prevent a full-out combat mission and to stress the advisory role of the USA military presence, the Obama administration placed very specific limits on the number of troops sent to Iraq.
"Bringing the authority really back here where it's historically been enables military commanders to be more agile, to more quickly and efficiently support partners, to have more rapid decision-making, and to keep units together", said Davis. In congressional testimony this week, he said the strategy will take into account regional influences, such as Pakistan's role as a Taliban sanctuary.
At a congressional hearing on Thursday, Mattis stressed that President Trump had not "fully delegated all authority to me, he maintains strategic oversight" for Afghanistan.
Mattis signaled his intention to brief lawmakers on a new strategy by mid-July. "Not winning" means we're losing, yet how likely is it that the usa military, effectively under the command of retired General Mattis, is going to shift gears completely and withdraw? "All wars come to an end".
There have been nearly 2,400 US military deaths in Afghanistan since 2001.
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