Senators slam Trump admin for delay in Afghan war plan

Nick Mcbride
June 14, 2017

Mattis, the former commander of all Middle East wars, said yesterday that the United States is not winning the war in Afghanistan.

According to Curtis, the Trump administration has completed the review of the Afghanistan policy and it is expected that the final results will be announced through media in the near future.

Mattis also said the Taliban were "surging" at the moment, something he said he meant to address, reported Reuters.

Mattis's latest assessment comes almost 16 years after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan and amid a war that continues to claim the lives of U.S. troops each year - and those of thousands of local forces and civilians. "And we will correct this as soon as possible", he said in testimony to the Senate armed services committee.

Mattis pointed to the war in Afghanistan, which has dragged on since late 2001 with no end in sight, as exacting a heavy price.

Meanwhile, Mattis said on Tuesday he would brief the committee on their new war strategy by mid-July. "Right now, I believe that the enemy is surging, right now", Mattis said. "Those discussions are ongoing right now with the president, and myself and the chairman [Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford] advising him". To date, more than 2,300 Americans have been killed and over 17,000 wounded. Officials were investigating whether they were killed by friendly fire in the opening minutes of the three-hour battle.

"2018 is a key decision point", Thornberry said.

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McCain, however, listed the names of the three 101st Airborne Division soldiers who were killed Saturday and said, "Let's not ask these families to sacrifice any further without a strategy which we can then take and implement and help you".

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

"Four years later, I returned to the Department (of Defense), and I have been shocked by what I've seen about our readiness to fight", he added.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis blamed the inability of Congress to deliver an annual defense budget for what he called a shockingly poor state of combat readiness as the United States faces fierce rivals, including an "urgent and risky threat" from North Korea.

Since the U.S. struck with its "mother of all bombs" earlier this year, ISIS has largely avoided assembling in large concentrations, so the official said additional targeting is needed.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., asked Dunford whether the diplomatic rift between Qatar and several of its neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, is impeding US military operations, given that the USA uses Qatar's al-Udeid air base as a critical air operations center for the wars.

Dunford, asked about the threat, said that the United States balances its missile-defense systems with other ways to counter North Korea, including cyber warfare, Navy weapons and intelligence collection.

Other reports by VgToday

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