It has been more than 15 years since the United States invaded Afghanistan, but the fighting is far from over.
More than 10,000 US troops are currently stationed in Afghanistan, and US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, who has complete authority over troop levels, has suggested sending up to 4,000 more.
This week, Mattis announced that Trump had made a decision on the US strategy in Afghanistan. The results of that assessment and an ongoing strategy will be revealed tonight.
“I am very comfortable that the strategic process was sufficiently rigorous and did not go in with a pre-set position,” said Mattis on Sunday. “The president has made a decision. As he said, he wants to be the one to announce it to the American people.”
Trump met with national security aides on Friday to review several options for Afghanistan. According to officials, these options ranged from a modest increase in troops to a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan.
According to an anonymous official, Trump’s top national security aides are pushing to send between 3,000 and 5,000 additional troops.
“The troop strength question is sort of cart before the horse,” said Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA). “The real question is what is our strategy? And then when you lay out the strategy, the troop strength question can kind of answer itself.”
Afghanistan is the world’s top producer of heroin and a breeding ground for terrorists. According to recent estimates, government forces control less than 60% of the country.
There are currently more than 10,000 men and women helping the Afghanistan government fight back against the Taliban insurgency.
Amid Washington’s review of Afghanistan policy comes renewed insistence that Afghanistan wants us there to help.
Colonel Abdul Mobin, who leads an Afghan mechanized battalion in the 111th Division, says any reduction in US military presence would lead to “total failure.” Mobin says he would like to see 10,000 additional US troops in the country.
Editor’s note: Yet another situation Obama left to fester.