APNewsBreak: About 4000 more US troops to go to Afghanistan

94926340President Donald Trump holds a meeting with members of his cabinet including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis

Poll: Will more US troops make Afghanistan secure?

President Trump granted Defense Secretary Jim Mattis the authority to increase troop levels in Afghanistan this week, as the administration prepares a new strategy for the conflict there that has embroiled the United States for almost 16 years.

As a candidate, Trump deplored the waste of America's wars and suggested he would try to end them.

Insisting that the United States can not allow Afghanistan to once again become a launching point for attacks on USA homeland and it's allies, Mattis said "We are making progress in degrading these groups, but their defeat will come about only by giving our men and women on the ground the support and the authorities they need to win".

A report from Politico stated that the United States has approximately 8,400 troops in Afghanistan.

Nevertheless, there are at least another 2,000 USA troops in Afghanistan not included in the official count.

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At a congressional hearing on Thursday, Mattis stressed that President Trump had not "fully delegated all authority to me, he maintains strategic oversight" for Afghanistan.

Four months ago, Army Gen. John Nicholson, who commands USA and global forces in Afghanistan, said he needed several thousand more troops.

Mr. Mattis comments comes days after he told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that "we are not winning in Afghanistan", in one of the starkest assessments by administration officials of the 16-year war to date. But Congress has grown impatient with the administration's approach, with lawmakers attributing the White House's indecisiveness to infighting among different factions inside the administration. "I believe by mid-July we will be able to brief you in detail". About 2,000 of those troops are involved in the counter-terrorism mission against al Qaeda and ISIS.

Most of the new troops heading to Afghanistan will play the role of training and advising Afghan troops.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said, "I'm glad that Trump is smart enough to understand that you know more than he does and he is empowering you to make us safe".

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"The delegation of this authority, consistent with the authority President Trump granted me two months for Iraq and Syria does not, at this time, change the troop numbers for Afghanistan", Mattis said. We still haven't got a strategy for Afghanistan.

A resurgent Taliban coupled with Islamic State militants have challenged US forces in the region and are taking back territory formerly under control of USA and Afghan troops.

Trump's decision Tuesday to give Mattis authority to set force levels in Afghanistan mirrored similar powers he handed over earlier this year for US fights in Iraq and Syria.

"I think there's going to have to be an adequate ground force, but I don't think it should be primarily American", McChrystal said.

There have been nearly 2,400 USA military deaths in Afghanistan since 2001. In recent years security in the country declined as the United States continued to decrease forces.

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It is now time to ask the same question of President Trump.

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