World

Pentagon regains authority to set combat troop levels

Pentagon regains authority to set combat troop levels

Trump's decision Tuesday to give Mattis authority to set force levels in Afghanistan mirrored similar powers he handed over earlier this year for US fights in Iraq and Syria.

During testimony on June 13 before the Senate Armed Services Committee in support of President Trump's Defense Department budget request for Fiscal Year 2018, Defense Secretary James Mattis (shown) asserted, "We are not winning in Afghanistan right now".

General Nicholson has recommended sending several thousand more USA troops to buttress the Afghan security forces, and it has been reported that the Department of Defense is advocating the dispatch of 3,000 to 5,000 personnel in addition to the 8,400 or so who are presently in Afghanistan.

The decision by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis could be announced as early as next week, the official said on Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Most of the new troops heading to Afghanistan will play the role of training and advising Afghan troops.

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 U.S. forces, working with Afghan forces, are able to provide local security after several years of "frequent skirmishing" with the Taliban and other insurgent forces.

Think about that. After almost 16 years and a trillion dollars spent, the U.S. is "not winning" in Afghanistan, which is, to put it honestly, an admission of defeat.

The Arizona senator also warned Mattis that senators will "start getting more vocal in our criticism" if a plan isn't delivered soon.




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

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 USA troops should be in Afghanistan at all.

Force Management Levels Mattis will be responsible for setting what are formally known as the "Force Management Level" or FML for American troops in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. "Our job is to end it as quickly as possible without losing the very mission that we've recognized, through several administrations, that was worth putting those young Americans on the line for", he said.

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. A United States military presence has persisted in the country ever since.

Paul retired from his House seat in 2013, but has continued to voice his opinions about US foreign policy on a regular basis. "What is the USA objective, what's the USA mission and why are we bombing anybody in Afghanistan?"

Mattis explained that while President Trump had delegated to him "the details of forces that will be allocated to support what he approves finally as a strategy" for Afghanistan, "I assure you this is not a carte blanche for me to come up with numbers that are going into this".

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.

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


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