Extra Troops in Afghanistan Will Cost $1 Billion a Year

US Secretary of state Rex Tillerson shakes hands with Pakistani foreign minister Khawaja Asif at the state department in Washington on 4 October

For example, if enemy forces are assembling and US commanders know they are likely to become a threat, they have the authority to act.

Dunford says about $5 billion of the total expense is required to support the Afghan security forces.

"Violence and progress in Afghanistan continue to coexist, but the uncertainty in the region and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation campaign has been replaced by certainty due to the implementation of President Trump's new South Asia strategy", the secretary said. The afternoon hearing went even longer, nearly four hours, as House members asked a wide range of questions.

But Marine Corp Gen Dunford said it's now a stalemate in Afghanistan.

Mattis said that there are "approximately 11,000" American troops in Afghanistan, the same number the Pentagon announced before reinforcements began to deploy to the country. "And unfortunately, we still have far more questions than answers about this new strategy". We must be convinced of the merits of the administration's actions.

Mattis said Tuesday at hearings before the House and Senate that the White House had given him new authority to change the rules of engagement, which he has already made use of by letting US troops fire on the Taliban regardless of physical proximity, Military Times reports.

SASC Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been a critic of the Trump administration for not having a strategy earlier on Afghanistan and the lawmaker even proposed his own Afghanistan plans.

"Realign" means shifting the main effort of U.S. troops to training and advising Afghan forces at the battalion and brigade level, he said.

"Their efforts will be fully enabled by the support and authorities needed for the Afghans to take the fight to the enemy", the general said. "But the Afghan forces remain in the lead to do the fighting".

"We gave up all of our leverage already".

Setting a date certain for the draw-down of American forces was a hallmark of the Obama administration approach, which was "consistently more interested in leaving Afghanistan than in succeeding there", McCain said.

Mr Mattis, a retired general, said he had spoken with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the issue three times in the last ten days as they tried to ensure that it was "an office we can actually deal with" and not just a physical presence.

"We must always remember we are in Afghanistan to make America safer and to ensure South Asia can not be used to plot transnational attacks against the United States homeland or our partners and allies", he said.

"We are natural partners, India and the United States, and we recognise each other's sovereignty".

But at the Tuesday morning Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Dunford said he believes Pakistan's main spy agency has ties to terrorist groups. On the same day, they also testified at the House Armed Services Committee on the same subject. "And he directed we provide targeted solutions", the chairman said.

The United States is planning to send about 3,000 additional troops to its 11,000 already in Afghanistan to aid Kabul's fight against the resurgent Taliban, 16 years after the US -led invasion drove the militants from power. "They are going to leave Afghanistan". While that was a good scenario militarily for the USA "but politically it makes it more problematic to try to find out who actually speaks for Taliban". "It is inclusive, for anyone who wants to stop killing of innocent (people), ..."

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