Top US Commander In Afghanistan: "I Am Short A Few Thousand Troops"

Tyler Durden's picture

The next "surge" is imminent.

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army General John Nicholson, said on Thursday he is short "several thousand" troops in order to break a stalemate in a war with Taliban insurgents, signaling the matter may soon be put before President Donald Trump.

"I have adequate resourcing in my counterterrorism mission. In my train, advise and assist mission, however, we have a shortfall of a few thousand," Nicholson, who leads U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Nicholson’s testimony before the committee is the first since President Trump’s inauguration, providing much needed color into how the new commander in chief might handle a war that received little attention on the campaign trail. At this moment there are about 8,400 U.S. troops in Afghanistan tasked with training, advising and assisting Afghan forces in their fight against the Taliban and conducting counterterrorism missions against groups such as al Qaeda. About 7,000 are dedicated to the NATO mission. In addition to the U.S. troops, there are about 6,400 NATO troops in the country.

The number of U.S. troops is down from 9,800 last year. As The Hill writes, former President Obama had initially planned to draw down that number to 5,500, but decided instead to set the troop numbers at 8,400.

So why the need for more troops? Nicholson described the situation in Afghanistan as a “stalemate," adding that the only the way to break the stalemate is to increase the offensive capability of the Afghan forces. As a result, Nicholson asked Congress to invest more in the Afghan air force, though he didn't offer a dollar figure on how that investment should cost.

“This investment which we are requesting the Afghan air force will help them, as you mentioned, to take over responsibility for their own close air support,” he said. “And even more importantly, this then will to an offensive capability that allows them to overmatch the Taliban or any other group on the battlefield anywhere around the country.”

This was music to the ears of perpetual warhawk John McCain, the chairman of the committee and a critic of the Obama administration's troops levels, who said he hopes the new administration take the “opportunity” to increase the troop commitment and give commanders more flexibility. 

“This new administration has the opportunity to turn the page," he said, and finally give our commanders the resources and authorities they need to seize the initiative and force the enemy to react, instead of the other way around.”

McCain's endorsement of Nicholson's request may be a problem: on Thursday morning Trump revived his feud with McCain, tweeting that the Arizona senator “doesn't know how to win anymore” and shouldn’t have called a U.S. raid in Yemen a failure.

“Sen. McCain should not be talking about the success or failure of a mission to the media. Only emboldens the enemy! He's been losing so long he doesn't know how to win anymore,” Trump wrote in a series of tweets Thursday morning. “Just look at the mess our country is in - bogged down in conflict all over the place. Our hero Ryan died on a winning mission ( according to General Mattis), not a 'failure.' Time for the U.S. to get smart and start winning again!”

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Cognitive Dissonance's picture

If it didn't work the first, second or third time, why not try a fourth? /s

lil dirtball's picture

It's working just fine - the streets of the world are flooded with cheap heroin.

NotApplicable's picture

Sounds like Vietnam all over again.

hedgeless_horseman's picture




Top US Commander In Afghanistan: "I Am Short A Few Thousand Troops"

They're dead, John.

Ignatius's picture

Maybe once the Syrian Arab Army gets done chasing ISIS out of their country perhaps they'll be happy to find work in Afghanistan?

P.S.  That pic is painful, HH, as is war.  RIP, brother.

J S Bach's picture

"I'm short a few thousand poppy protectors."

ThirdWorldDude's picture

Two predictions: the General will get his cannon fodder and there'll be another record high opium harvest later on this year.

espirit's picture


dulce bellum inexpertis


HowdyDoody's picture

Our poppy fields aren't gonna guard themselves, and PMC guards are too darn expensive, plus they run rather than die when TSHTF.

bigkahuna's picture

If it has not happened by now general - whatever you are trying to do is not going to work.

svayambhu108's picture


Trump will give a few thousands!
Trump will stop all wars! 

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

"P.S. That pic is painful, HH, as is war. RIP, brother."

Not for me it ain't!

How fucking stupid can you be knowing your mission is based on a lie that happened more than 15 years earlier that killed your own in order to commit high treason "looting everywhere else"!

Fuck that stupid SOB. He deserved the bullet in the head as do all of them for worshipping a "Pyramid with an "All Seeing Eye on top" that is the reason he keeps betraying his oath to the Constitution and the UCMJ!!!

Only making the gene pool stronger at home as moar of them get "tagged" and "bagged"!

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

The only soldier post-9/11 that I would EVER salute (

Fragged by his own for simply telling his superiors the TRUTH about WHAT THEY WERE DOING!

And worst of ALL he isn't a HERO IN THE MILITARY'S EYES!

Troy Ounce's picture



Maybe a strange question but what the hell are you doing in Afghanistan in the first place?

hedgeless_horseman's picture


Why are Americans fighting and dying in Afghanistan?



I was told that The United States of America went to war in Afghanistan, now the longest war in American history, because the Afghanis were harboring a Saudi Arabian, Osama Bin Ladin, who was, allegedly, the masterminded behind the 15 other Saudi Arabians, 2 United Arab Emirates citizens, 1 Egyptian, and 1 Lebanese that allegedly perpetrated 9-11.  The US government's rhetoric was that if we didn't hunt down and kill Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, then the Muslims would plan and execute other terrorist attacks on the USA.  So, we trained our young men to hate and kill Muslims.



We supposedly found Osama Bin Ladin in 2011, in Pakistan, not Afghanistan.  But instead of capturing the unarmed mastermind for interrogation about other terrorist plots, we shot him in the face and promptly buried him at sea, we were told, in accordance with the tradition of the desert-dwelling Saudi Arabians. 



But the Muslims have, nonetheless, subsequently planned and executed other terrorist attacks in the USA, including the largest mass shooting in American history not perpetrated by the US government. 



Today, Americans are making assloads of money exporting opium from Afghanistan and exporting death to the world.



wren's picture

I'm SICK of the ME oil wars! Bring the troops home and protect our borders! Stop making terrorists! I could care less if they all gassed each other in the ME! Cut all ties with the ME, get the oil rolling out of Canada and Alaska, and seal the Mexico border. I'm SOOO done with this idiocy! NOT OUR FIGHT!

HowdyDoody's picture

It sounds like they want to train some more Saudi Wahabbists to take on Iran as they are too pussified to do it themselves.

Thought Processor's picture


"Maybe a strange question but what the hell are you doing in Afghanistan in the first place?"



Or rather the control of Opium.


Same reason as Vietnam / Laos / Cambodia / Burma (Golden Triangle).


Opium is the most profitable substance on earth.  And it's all tax free.


For more on the history of this look into the Russell corp. and Opium clippers in China.  

The Russell Corp funded the origination of the Skull and Bones society at Yale.  Now why would you need a secret society that cross-implicates it own members in law breaking (among other things)?  In order to ensure that they would both follow orders and not rat out each other.


Well for one thing it certainly helps out if you are running a vast network of illegal drug running / exportation / importation world wide.  You simply must have these 'compromised' people working for you, otherwise no one in their right mind would go along with such acts against humanity.


Evil really does exist people.  And it will continue to exist if everyone turns a blind eye towards it.



edit:  I'm adding some links for those that want to delve further:


It's worth noting who funded the East India Companies and hey, doesn't that flag look familiar?

Winston Churchill's picture

Trying to block the Silk Road of course.

Same as the Brits were trying to do.

It sure stopped the the Iran/Afghan/China oil pipelins for 16 years.

With Pakistan and India both now full SCO members, its now a waste of blood and treasure.

The pipelines are now going across the Baluchi desert instead.

hedgeless_horseman's picture

Otherwise, it is a long way by sea, through a couple of narrow straits that can easily be defended with a couple of carrier groups.

Thought Processor's picture



"Iran/Afghan/China oil pipeline"


This also.

NotApplicable's picture

My dad was a Vietnam vet. Thought the war in Iraq was the stupidest thing ever, right up until it started when he instantly was more concerned about "supporting the troops" by not bad-mouthing it any longer.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

"My God! He's dead, Jim!  He's dead!"


Spanky's picture

It's always about blood and treasure hedgeless... our blood for their treasure.

And I think you've got a pretty good handle on who "they" are based on your previous posts. But you should never underestimate the power of propaganda -- nor the reach of veteran's organizations whose primary purpose appears to be aimed at controlling vets' "radical" thoughts about "our" politicans and their benefactors.

LetThemEatRand's picture

"Sounds like Vietnam all over again."

At least Vietnam had an ending.  

Chupacabra-322's picture

Yea, and both have thing thing in common. Heroin.

Crash Overide's picture

When did we go back to Afghanistan...?


oh yeah, we never left. :(

Mr Pink's picture

I'm guessing they must be working doubles protecting those poppy fields...oh...and our freedum!

zedwood's picture

Dont' forget it is also about minerals too:


The future of Silicon Valley’s technological prowess may well lie in the war-scarred mountains and salt flats of Western Afghanistan.

United States Geological Survey teams discovered one of the world’s largest untapped reserves of lithium there six years ago. The USGS was scouting the volatile country at the behest of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations. Lithium is a soft metal used to make the lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries essential for powering desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. And increasingly, electric cars like Tesla’s.

BullyBearish's picture

You all need to change your thinking about's NOT something that is bad, something we want to avoid at all costs, something that if we do find ourselves in we try to expedite its conclusion...NO, WAR is a good thing, a thing to ALWAYS be in, a thing that generates much profit while thinning out the less desireable of the world's population...

So, when someone says that Peace is not working they must realize that it is not working BY DESIGN...

hedgeless_horseman's picture


8.  Read, 1984, by George Orwell.


“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”


15.  Research your two senators and one congressman at Make a list of their 10 biggest donors, and send the list to your "representative" in an email or letter.


16.  Read, War is a Racket, by Smedley D. Butler.

OpTwoMistic's picture

Yeah, other than guarding the heroin, why is US there????????

Bring the troops home and put a massive number on the border.

Mustafa Kemal's picture

It sounds like Trump should make an EO declaring all his missions successful.

BabaLooey's picture

Hey General:

How about a TOTAL EVACUATION?????

What's that?

Big Pharma and the M.I.C. say no?



In addition - WHY aren't both those bloated fucks PAYING EVERY SINGLE DOLAR for EVERY WOUNDED SOLDIER?



LawsofPhysics's picture

A military coup in America would be awesome...

Yukon Cornholius's picture

My guess is all in on Iran. Afghanistan was so 2005. What is this? A flashback episode?

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Phew, that's a relief. For a moment I was worried that he was "A Dime short".

Spanky's picture

Well said Cog.

Perhaps we should short the commander another 8400 troops... and let the Afgans work it out between themselves.

deplorable nation's picture

Sounds like the very definition of American Foreign Policy.

halcyon's picture

When you actually leave Afghanistan for good, you are short zero personnel.


homonohumanus's picture

Great opportunity to share the load with Russia and surrounding (friendly) islamic nations.

Fathead Slim's picture
Fathead Slim (not verified) homonohumanus Feb 9, 2017 11:45 AM

I think that the Russians already learned a lesson about Afghanistan.

Mustafa Kemal's picture

Yup, the difference is that they "learned"