August 17, 2017
BEIJING — The top U.S. general says the Trump administration is very close to a long-term policy commitment to Afghanistan that will address a call by General John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, for more international troops to end the stalemate between Afghan forces and the Taliban.
The comments come from General Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a day after a U.S. soldier was killed and another American and Afghan soldier were injured during a military operation against Islamic State militants in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.
A military spokesman in Afghanistan told VOA the incident happened Wednesday during a joint operation against Islamic State militants in Afghanistan. This is the 10th death of a U.S. military member in Afghanistan this year, most of them killed during operations against Islamic State.
President Donald Trump heads to Camp David Friday to discuss a new strategy on the war in Afghanistan with his national security team.
Dunford told reporters during a visit to Beijing that he would be participating in the president’s discussion by teleconference.
“I’ll absolutely be there,” he said.
The rollout of the strategy has taken longer than some in Trump’s security team anticipated, with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis telling Congress in June that he expected to brief them on the new plan by mid-July.
Dunford said U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan deserved an updated policy as they continue to support Afghan forces and battle Islamic State militants.
“That’s why we’ve spent so much time working through this,” he said. “We’re weighing the long-term commitment for Afghanistan, so I think it’s probably proper that we be deliberate.