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Trump And Team About To Decide On Afghanistan War

18 Août 2017

President Donald Trump is meeting with his national security team at Camp David today to consider a thorny question: What course should the United States pursue for the conflict in Afghanistan, its longest-running war?

Currently, the USA has about 8,400 troops in Afghanistan which are primarily training and advising Afghan forces, and are also hunting down al-Qaida and other extremist groups.

Like other disputes in the Trump administration, the argument over Afghanistan has pitted foreign policy traditionalists including Tillerson, Mattis and McMaster against nationalist opponents of foreign entanglements such as strategist Stephen Bannon.

According to The Hill, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis on Monday had also hinted that President Trump is "very close" to making a decision on the strategy.

"We will move this toward a decision", Mattis said during a news conference with Japanese ministers.

Gen Mattis, however, gave no hint as to what the strategy will look like in dealing with a situation in Afghanistan after a prolonged war that has irritated President Trump, who had even suggested, according to media reports, to replace the United States commander in Afghanistan, Gen Nicholson, according to media reports.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis

Prince, who acknowledged that Mattis opposes his idea, said on "CBS This Morning" that it would use "contracted people, attaching them to the Afghan army for the long term at the battalion level".

About 8,400 USA troops are now in Afghanistan. US officials say the Afghan Taliban are supported by elements of Pakistan's military and top intelligence agency, a charge Islamabad denies.

Faced with Trump's concern that the Afghanistan war can't ever be won, those who urge a renewed effort warn the departure of the USA and its allies would create opportunities for forces opposed to American interests, including Islamic State, Iran and Russian Federation.

Finalizing a regional security strategy has been held up by Trump's frustration with a lack of options for defeating the Taliban and ending the longest foreign conflict in USA history. Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, and some military commanders favor a troop hike, while "anti-globalists" led by White House chief strategist Steven Bannon and allies back withdrawing US forces, USA officials said.

US officials have consulted Afghanistan leaders on Mattis's plan, according to Afghan Ambassador to the U.S.

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Trump And Team About To Decide On Afghanistan War