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US President says decision on Afghanistan strategy very close

14 August 2017
US President says decision on Afghanistan strategy very close

But McCain has grown increasingly impatient.

For McCain, the objective is to make sure Afghanistan no longer serves as a harbor for terrorists, which will be accomplished by granting new levels of authority to the USA military to target the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, al-Qaida and the Islamic State, among other groups.

Intensifying U.S. regional diplomatic efforts working through flexible frameworks for regional dialogue together with Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, India, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and other nations to promote Afghan political reconciliation as well as to advance regional cooperation on issues such as border security, intelligence sharing, counternarcotics, transportation, and trade to reduce mistrust and build confidence among regional states.

Sen. John McCain on Thursday unveiled a plan to increase USA air and ground forces in Afghanistan that would probably bring some American soldiers closer into harm's way - a move that in effect rebukes President Trump, who has not yet decided on his preferred way forward in the war.

"It's a very big decision for me", Politico news quoted the President as saying.

"I thank our new generation, for their bravery and sacrifices they make in the Afghanistan's defense and security forces", said Ghani.

He said they need more time to analyze the options, and suggested some of those options include not surging the US commitment, which amounts to about 10,000 troops right now. "We just don't have that plan", she said in response to a question. "There are always other options", the secretary said.

"So, all I can tell you is that unless we get a strategy from you, you're going to get a strategy from us", McCain said at the time.

Mattis said he understood the urgency and acknowledged, "We are not winning in Afghanistan right now". President Obama's "don't lose" strategy has put us on a path to achieving the opposite result.

But reports have suggested that other Trump advisers, including his influential strategy chief Steve Bannon, favor cutting American losses by pulling out or sending private military contractors to replace troops. "The thousands of Americans putting their lives on the line in Afghanistan deserve better".

"Adopting a clear policy and strategy in Afghanistan, backed with the authorities and resources necessary for success, would be a critical step toward restoring that kind of leadership, which has been absent for far too long", he said.

A former Navy pilot who was held in a prisoner of war camp in Vietnam, Mr. McCain has long one of Capitol Hill's foremost defense hawks.

The United States has about 8,400 troops in Afghanistan.

"We must face facts, we are losing in Afghanistan and time is of the essence if we intend to turn the tide", McCain said as he announced introducing the new Afghan strategy as an amendment to the National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2018, which is slated to come up for discussion before the Senate next month.

The most recent report from the special inspector general overseeing US efforts in Afghanistan was grim.

Opiate production in the country also doubled between 2015 and 2016, the inspector general reported. The auditors said American officials are essentially confined to the embassy compound, meaning they can't oversee the billions of dollars the US has spent on infrastructure and social programs in the troubled nation.