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Report: Pentagon Plans to Send Thousands of U.S. Troops to Afghanistan

The Department of Defense is planning to send between 3,000 to 5,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, reports CBS News. An announcement on the exact number from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected in the next few days or weeks.

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has said that he cannot counter an increasingly violent, resurgent Taliban insurgency at current troop levels.

President Trump gave Mattis the ability to set troop levels Tuesday.

Daulat Waziri, spokesman for Afghanistan’s defense ministry, said Afghanistan’s government supports the U.S. decision to send more troops.

An official, quoting the administration, said that most of the troops would train and advise Afghan forces, while a smaller number will assume counter-terror operations.

“No decisions have been made,” said Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, CBS reported.

The anticipated surge would be far smaller than President Obama’s surge of 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in 2009.

Earlier this week, the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) criticized the Pentagon for its failure to produce a plan for the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, saying that the U.S. “not winning” there, a statement Mattis agreed with.

On Tuesday, Mattis said that the DoD is preparing a comprehensive strategy in consultation with NATO and U.S. commanders, and that rushing to judgment could make the situation on the ground worse.

There are currently 8,400 American service members serving and advising in Afghanistan. Last weekend, a Taliban attack killed three U.S. soldiers were killed and wounded another in eastern Afghanistan.

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