President Donald Trump's senior military and foreign policy advisers are proposing a major shift in strategy in Afghanistan that would put more boots on the ground, according to reports.
Ahead of the expected release of the Af-Pak plan, the White House on Monday said Trump wants to have a winning strategy in the war-torn country.
President Donald Trump's top military advisers are urging him to send 3,000 to 5,000 more US troops to Afghanistan, a White House official said.
The plans will also reportedly lift the Obama-era restrictions allowing military advisers greater mobility on the battlefield as well as giving the military broader authority to carry out airstrikes.
The US-led occupying force officially announced to end its combat operations against the Taliban in the country at the end of 2014, and its current mission is to "train, advise, and assist" Afghan troops.
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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is due to meet Prime Minister Theresa May at Downing Street on Wednesday and is expected to discuss the subject, according to the BBC.
The question is whether USA and Afghan forces, even if bolstered by a new strategy involving more troops and authorities to target the Taliban, can bring enough pressure to push the war toward a settlement.
The United States will depend on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to supply most of the additional forces needed to expand the military campaign in Afghanistan, relying on alliance partners' commitments to determine how many additional American troops are sent, a senior us defense official said Tuesday. The new rules would also enable USA military advisers to accompany conventional Afghan forces closer to the front lines, similar to the freedom they enjoy with elite Afghan forces in a separate counterterrorism mission.
The recommendations come after General John Nicholson, commander of the American-led global military force in Afghanistan, told Congress in February that he needed a few thousand more troops to effectively train and advise Afghan soldiers, warning that the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies were facing a military deadlock, 15 years after first sending troops to the country. The Taliban has seen increased success in recent years and the security situation in the country has gotten worse. But we still can't claim Afghan security forces are a "strong, sustainable force" after training them for 15 years. Last month, at least 140 soldiers were killed by Taliban militants on a military base in northern Afghanistan, in what was the single deadliest attack by the insurgent group since 2001. "Changes to the rules of engagement are being considered", he said.
And Secretary of Defense Gen. Jim Mattis worries that, while ISIS might be on "their back foot" in Iraq and Syria, they've got some strength still in Afghanistan.
"I believe that it is not only a danger, it is a virtual certainty", said Barnett Rubin, who served as senior adviser to the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan under Barack Obama. That is something that we're continuing to work on and do, and thats part of what he is getting briefed on and is implementing, he said.