Pentagon sees more 'agility' with new power on Afghan troops levels

Mattis: Trump has delegated decisions on Afghan troop levels

Some critics see delegation of troop level decisions as a way for Trump to abdicate responsibility for decisions on America's longest war, one that has cost the lives of more than 2,000 troops.

Several months after the USA government dropped the Mother of All Bombs - or MOAB - in an attempt to crush the fledgling ISIS movement in #afghanistan, Donald Trump has given Defense Secretary James "Mad Dog" Mattis the authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan.

The Afghanistan war has been dragging on since October 2001, and the USA -led coalition ended their combat mission against the Taliban in 2014 but they are increasingly involved in backing up Afghan forces on the battlefield.

Mattis says he'll have the new strategy to share with lawmakers by mid-July to turn around the war.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is promising that the United States will defeat the Taliban and other terrorist organizations in Afghanistan.

The decision is part of a broader strategy being developed that addresses the US role in Afghanistan and beyond, Mattis said.

Civilian casualties in 2016 hit a record high level, according to data from the U.N. Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, which began tracking the deaths in 2009. The Trump administration is reportedly considering increasing that number by up to 5,000.

"I don't have anything I can comment on that right now".

"Afghanistan welcomes the decision by President Trump to give Defence Secretary Gen. James Mattis the authority to set USA military troop levels in Afghanistan, a development that underscores the United States' strong commitment to our two countries' long-term joint efforts to defeat common enemies and bring about peace and stability", Afghanistan's Ambassador to America Hamdullah Mohib said.

Later, he said he could imagine the USA helping train Afghan security forces "years from now", even after the country is stabilized.

There are now around 8,400 USA troops and roughly 5,000 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in Afghanistan. For nearly 16 years now, the United States has been heavily involved in counter-insurgency measures and attempts to install a stable Western-backed government.

Current and former US officials say discussions revolve around adding 3,000 to 5,000 troops. But whatever number of troops we have in Afghanistan, and whether that number is picked by the President or the Pentagon, it seems unlikely to accomplish anything beyond a preservation of the status quo in this seemingly interminable conflict.

Almost 16 years after the American-led invasion of Afghanistan, and after successive administrations have tried different troop levels and engagement strategies, observers are skeptical. However, there is also talk that more authority on the ground could be given to these troops who are in a train, advise and assist capacity.

The new troops, if deployed, would "provide more fire and air support to the Afghans".

"They're finally moving forward", McCain said in response to a question from The Hill, adding that national security adviser H.R. McMaster "called me up, said, 'Come over to the White House tomorrow, we'll have some good information for you, ' and he did". The increased fight has led to a recent string of American deaths. "We will continue to work with our allies, and we will ask more of them".



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