US Rules of Engagement in Afghanistan Eased, Greater Civilian Deaths Probable

Unveiling a new Afghanistan-centric South Asia policy in August, Trump had said, "We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organisations". Iran also has said it has no intention ever of acquiring nuclear weapons, but the US and Israel are among the countries that do not accept those assurances, citing Iran's past nuclear activities.

Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford said that the current cost for the United States in Afghanistan was about $12.5 billion a year, and the new strategy would cost an additional $1.1 billion. The more than 3,000 additional US troops going to Afghanistan will be focused primarily on providing training and advisory support to the Afghan security forces. The increase will expand training of the Afghan military and beef up USA counterterrorism operations against al-Qaida and a growing Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan, as well as the Taliban and other extremist groups. The combined United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troop contingent now in the country is about 13,500.

Lawmakers pressed the generals on more than just troop numbers.

Gen. Dunford informed in this regard while briefing the United States lawmakers in the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Mattis said defense officials will do better.

Mattis says, "Yes, senator, I do". "I pledge the Department of Defense will be fully responsive to your requirement to be kept appraised of current and planned operations".

About 3,500 more American forces are being sent to Afghanistan as part of Trump's new strategy.

Still, both Dunford and Mattis said they're willing to work with Pakistan "one more time" before taking punitive measures against the country.

Mattis said that more than 3,000 additional US troops are being sent to Afghanistan to reinforce the 11,000 USA troops already stationed in the country.

Sen. John McCain, who chairs the Senate armed services panel, said it was "bizarre" that neither man provided written testimony in advance of the hearing.

The senator also asked when Trump will decide whether to close a controversial Taliban office in Qatar.

Last month, the top U.S. military officer said Iran was complying with the pact and warned that any American decision to walk away from it would make other nations less likely to enter into agreements with the United States. However, this was after McCain raised growing concerns over the disconnect between Congress and the Pentagon.

The strong statements on ISI and Pakistan from top officials of the Trump Administration came hours before the Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif landed in Washington on a three-day visit.

"We want to be your partners", McCain said. "There was a sense of déjà vu", said Ned Price, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst who served as special adviser to Obama. In talking with the American people, we will tell them we are adding the troops. "That is our separate, co-equal responsibility under the Constitution".

  • Rogelio Becker