US Recognizes Progress of Taliban Movement in Afghanistan

Lauren Perry
June 14, 2017

Speaking to the United States lawmakers in the House Armed Services Committee on Monday, Mattis said the new USA strategy will take a "regional approach" rather than addressing the country's long-running war in isolation. Mattis, while acknowledging the committee's "urgency" in pursuing their questions and criticisms, admitted the USA military was "not winning in Afghanistan right now", adding: "We will correct this as soon as possible".

Mattis appeared before the committee along with Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to field questions from lawmakers on President Donald Trump's proposed military budget for the 2018 fiscal year, which begins October 1. Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top USA commander in Afghanistan, has told Congress that he could use an infusion of US and allied troops to bolster support for the Afghan army.

Republican Senator John McCain, the chair of the committee, agreed that Congress needs to pass a budget but said lawmakers also needed to see an Afghanistan plan from the Pentagon on how to move forward.

McCain told Mattis that he is a "great admirer of yours, Mr. Secretary. but we just can't keep going like this". So all I can tell you is, that unless we get a strategy from, you're going to a get strategy from us.

South Korea's top national security adviser said last week that Seoul did not aim to change its agreement on the deployment of a US anti-missile system to protect against North Korea, despite a decision to delay its full installation.

In some cases, Afghan security forces have been forced to abandon the more scattered and rural bases, and the government can claim to control or influence only 57 per cent of the country, according to U.S. military estimates made earlier this year.

The United States' "competitive advantage is eroding", he said.

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 unsafe threat" from North Korea.

Long campaigns such as Afghanistan meant equipment wore out sooner, he said.

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Nicholson has also described the situation in Afghanistan as a stalemate, but the Institute for the Study of War has characterized it as a deteriorating situation.

US warplanes have launched airstrikes three times against what they have identified as pro-government forces that have come to close to the USA base.

Speaking to members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Mattis was under fire from Sen.

The remarks were a blunt reminder of the gloom underscoring US military assessments of the war between the USA -backed Afghan government and the Islamist terrorist group, classified by US commanders as a "stalemate" despite nearly 16 years of fighting.

Previous defense secretaries, he noted, have warned Congress of the erosion of capabilities sequestration would bring.

"We need bipartisan support for this budget request", the secretary told the committee. Mattis said forces should "handle the violence" there.

United States troops in Afghanistan number about 8,400 today, and there are another 5,000 from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, who mainly serve in a training and advisory capacity.

Three U.S. soldiers were killed and another wounded Saturday when they were attacked by an Afghan soldier, who was then killed.

Other reports by VgToday

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