Donald Trump has given the Pentagon complete authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan, hours after his Defence Secretary suggested the US was losing the war.
Defence Secretary James Mattis told Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defence that the President had delegated him complete authority over the number of troops, as he had previously done for the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
The day before, Mr Mattis had told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the US was “not winning” the war in Afghanistan.
“The Taliban had a good year last year, and they’re trying to have a good one this year,” he said. “Right now, I believe the enemy is surging.”
Many felt the Secretary was hinting he wanted to send more troops to the country. General John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, said earlier this year that he needs “a few thousand” more troops in the fight against Isis, the Taliban, and other militant groups.
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