USA not winning in Afghanistan, defense chief Mattis says

Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday that he will provide details on a new strategy for the war in mid-July. The official also said that the USA estimates there are still several hundred ISIS fighters in eastern Afghanistan. "Everything that we are doing plans for that contingency.in addition to looking ahead to what might be developed or what is possible over the next five to ten years".

Alongside Mattis, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated to the panel that although a war with North Korea would have casualties "unlike anything we've seen", the USA and its allies would be assured of victory.

Under Barack Obama, troop levels in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria were closely managed by the White House and commanders complained they felt shackled by the strictures.

John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told Congress that thousands of more troops were needed in part because outside powers have increased their meddling in Afghanistan in the a year ago, making it tougher for the US-backed government in Kabul to quell the violence.

Lawmakers, including the chairman of the committee, Republican Sen.

He added that he believed Qatar is "moving in the right direction" when it comes to curtailing its funding of terrorism and said the United States needed to find common ground with Qatar due to the two countries' shared interest.

"It would be a war like nothing we have seen since 1953", Mattis said about the end of the Korean War. "I was confident that within the first 30 to 60 days we would have a strategy from which to start working". We still haven't got a strategy for Afghanistan.

"Congress owes the American people a strategy", McCain added.

"Let's not ask these families to sacrifice any further without a strategy, which we can then take and implement and help you", he pleaded.

The official said the final decision to give Mattis the power to adjust troop levels actually came during his testimony, at which he said America still is "not winning" in Afghanistan.

He is believed to be mulling sending an additional 3,000 to 5,000 United States troops.

Mattis told Congress that the U.S is "not winning in Afghanistan right now", and the enemy is surging.

US National Intelligence Director Dan Coats also warned last month that the security situation in Afghanistan would most likely deteriorate in the future even if the United States and its allies offer more military aid.

Civilian deaths are also at record highs, according to the U.N. Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, which began tracking the deaths in 2009.

Officials said the U.S.is thinking about sending about more 3,000 to 5,000 troops to train and support Afghan forces.

The increase in troops under consideration would leave US forces well below their 2011 peak of more than 100,000.

The U.S. already spends more on defense than any other country in the world - by a lot.

As of February 20, a U.S. military assessment from the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction revealed that the Afghan government controls 59.7 percent of the country's 407 districts, nearly an 11 percentage-point decrease from 2016.

Vanessa Coleman

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