Mattis says training, assisting to remain core mission of forces in Afghanistan

Mattis would not say how many additional forces that he and Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, are looking to deploy.

Under Barack Obama, troop levels in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria were closely managed by the White House and commanders complained they felt shackled by the strictures. 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.

Now about 8,400 United States troops are in Afghanistan along with another 5,000 or so North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces.

"The delegation of this authority, consistent with the authority President Trump granted me two months ago for Iraq and Syria does not, at this time, change the troop numbers for Afghanistan", he said. Nicholson described the war as a "stalemate". The Trump administration is reportedly considering increasing that number by up to 5,000.

In the short-term, Mattis and the chairman of the Joint Chief's of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, said additional U.S. troops sent to the country would provide more fire and air support to the Afghans.

But according to Mattis himself, outright military might likely won't end the conflict.

The decision by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis could be announced as early as next week, the official said. To date, more than 2,300 Americans have been killed and more than 17,000 wounded since the war began in 2001. Those forces are expected to be largely comprised of trainers to support Afghan forces, as well as air crews.

A US Army carry team moves the transfer case containing the remains of US Army Sgt. Eric M. Houck, during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base, in Dover, Delaware, on Monday. Thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed as well.

"Peace is the solution for the problem", said Guterres, previously a United Nations' high commissioner for refugees.

Trump appears to be opting for a mostly hands-off approach in his role as commander-in-chief.

After 16 years and no convincing plan to finally eliminate all internal discord in sight, President Donald Trump will be giving the Pentagon free rein to add more troops to the U.S.'s ill-defined efforts in Afghanistan, reports the Washington Post and The Hill today.

The president has been notably reticent on the worsening situation in Afghanistan since taking office in January, a fact that Sen. "I was called down with Senator McCain and other senators and briefed by Gen. McMaster and the vice president yesterday in the White House situation room", the South Carolina Republican said.

"Does Mattis do something different, or fall into the trap of the last eight years of doing the same thing but doing it better?" I think the bigger question is what degree of strategy change are we considering?

"This administration will not repeat the mistakes of the past", Mattis said.

"The Taliban had a good year last year, and they're trying to have a good one this year", Mattis said Tuesday of the anti-Afghan government militant group that has been fighting USA -led troops since 2001.

  • Rogelio Becker