wnol.info March 24 2018

Mattis: President Trump has settled on new Afghan strategy

March 24 2018, 07:56 | Irvin Gilbert

The war veteran has been consistently disapproving of President Donald Trump's lack of a master plan for Afghanistan.

The media noted that Mr Trump wants to win the war but is reluctant to send large numbers of additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

The decision comes after the departure from the White House on Friday of Steve Bannon, Trump's firebrand chief strategist, a nationalist who was said to be disinclined to seeing USA forces more deeply mired in the troubled region.

However, with no policy announced as yet, and nearly half of Afghan territory now controlled by insurgents, lawmakers on both sides of Congress will no doubt be eager to receive details of President Trump's strategy for the country going forward.

President Donald Trump will address the U.S. troops and the nation on his plans for Afghanistan and South Asia, the White House has said.

The White House released a statement Friday afternoon saying Trump had been briefed by his national security team on "a new strategy to protect America's interests in South Asia" - indicating that no decision had yet been reached.

"Important day spent at Camp David with our very talented Generals and military leaders", Trump tweeted.

As Trump reviewed an array of options for a strategy on Afghanistan with his top national security aides at Camp David, he made no decision on whether he would commit more troops to America's longest war.

Mattis says the new strategy is worth the wait.

The administration's Afghanistan review is also looking at America's wider policy towards Afghanistan beyond military involvement, including more vigorous United States investment in the country's natural resources.

Further complicating matters, the officials said, were differences about how hard to pressure Pakistan to crack down on the Taliban and allies such as the Haqqani group, a course some military and intelligence officials feared would interfere with their cooperation with the Pakistani military and its powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

There is some speculation that the U.S. relationship with Pakistan has been under scrutiny during Trump's lengthy review of a new strategy and troop levels in the fight against Taliban and other militant groups in the country.

John McCain harshly questioned Mattis about the lack of a strategy for the war. Committing more troops would also significantly affect the United State's relationship with Pakistan. But he refused to talk about the new policy until Trump discloses it.

Nevertheless, US support for the new Afghan government continued, and as of 2017 the Taliban remained a powerful force in the country.

Erik Prince, the founder of the former Blackwater private security firm who is proposing a private security strategy for dealing with Afghanistan, had been scheduled to attend the Camp David session but Politico revealed that he was blocked at the last minute, allegedly by McMaster.

Afghanistan has been the subject of significant debate within the Trump administration.

In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the U.S. led an invasion of the country to topple the Taliban from power and eliminate a "safe haven" for al Qaeda.

Earlier reports said the options could involve a complete military pullout or an increase of an additional 4,000 to 9,000 troops.

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