About 4000 More US Troops to Go to Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Pentagon will send nearly 4,000 additional American forces to Afghanistan, a Trump administration official said Thursday, hoping to break a stalemate in a war that has now passed to a third USA commander in chief. The rising threat posed by Islamic State extremists, evidenced in a rash of deadly attacks in the capital city of Kabul, has only fueled calls for a stronger US presence, as have several recent American combat deaths.

"In this regard our forces are conducting partnered counter-terrorism operations and we are supporting the NATO- led's mission so in the future the Afghan people can defend themselves", he said.

This comes after Mattis's testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier on Tuesday in which he pressed for troop increases to combat a "surging" Taliban.

"And ignoring those means you put in a strategy that has not taken into account some of the most fundamental factors that would impact on its success or failure", Mattis said.

There are more than 8,400 American troops in Afghanistan with a mission of training, advising and assisting the Afghan military in its fight against the Taliban and the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan.

"And we will do so", the Pentagon chief said before the House subpanel. Mattis' statement was made during a tense exchange with the committee's chairman, John McCain (R-Ariz.).

The 16-year USA military involvement in Afghanistan is the longest war in the nation's history, and all indications are that it will be getting longer.

The additional troops will allow the USA -led coalition to provide more advisers to Afghan combat units.

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.

His new strategy is a work in progress, Mattis said, and "does not at this time change the troop numbers in Afghanistan".

FML's were effectively caps set by the White House on the number of troops that could be deployed to each country. Regional powers Iran, India and China, which all have political stakes in the fate of Afghanistan, also must be considered. He said he expects to outline a strategy for Congress within a month.

As such, Mattis is looking to end the war as soon as possible.

Mattis signaled his intention to brief lawmakers on a new strategy by mid-July.

Thanks to the vigilance and skill of the US military and our many allies and partners, horrors on the scale of September 11, 2001, have not been repeated on our shores.

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