Press TV / August 20, 2017
US President Donald Trump and his military commanders have agreed on the country’s new strategy in Afghanistan after a “rigorous” debate, the Pentagon chief says.
US Defense Secretary James Mattis made the announcement on Sunday but said Trump would lay out the new plan himself.
However, Mattis did not provide details about what the decision was on Afghanistan on when the White House would make an announcement.
“I’m very comfortable that the strategic process was sufficiently rigorous, and did not go in with a preset condition in terms of what questions could be asked and what decisions could be made,” Mattis said in Jordan, at the beginning of a five day tour of the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
“Everyone who had equity was heard,” he said, including budget officials responsible for funding the effort.
On Saturday, Trump said in a tweet that the meeting at Camp David saw “many decisions made, including on Afghanistan.”
It seems that the new strategy would allow the Pentagon to increase troop levels in Afghanistan. Before his election, Trump had on several occasions voiced his frustration with the 16-year war.
In an executive order issued back in February, Trump tasked Mattis with devising an Afghan strategy that was expected to be delivered in mid-July, but the timeline has reportedly been thrown off by the president’s demand for revisions.
It was reported in June that Trump had allowed Mattis to increase the estimated 8,400 troop level in Afghanistan by about 4,000.
Mattis said all strategic decisions were up to Trump and he needed more time to think.
“The president had to make strategic decisions,” Mattis said. “He delegated to me, when he came in, the tactical and operational decision. He did not delegate one ounce of the strategic decision.”
“He really did come in with very different courses of action, and I think he now needs the weekend to collect his thoughts about how he’s going to explain it to the American people,” the pentagon chief added.
The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to allegedly eradicate Taliban and other terror groups. After years of deadly clashes, however, Taliban is seemingly stronger while the Daesh (ISIL) terror group has also gained foothold in the country.
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