Pentagon To Send 4,000 Troops To Afghanistan In Trump's Largest Deployment Yet

Two days after Trump ceded unilateral authority on Afghan troop deployments to the Department of Defense, the Pentagon wasted on time and according to AP, the Pentagon will send 4,000 additional American forces to Afghanistan to support existing forces and in hopes of breaking a stalemate in a war that has now been passed on to a third U.S. President. The deployment will be the largest of American manpower under Donald Trump’s young presidency.

According to AP, the decision by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis could be announced as early as next week, and was prompted by "the rising threat posed by Islamic State extremists, evidenced in a rash of deadly attacks in the capital city of Kabul, has only fueled calls for a stronger U.S. presence, as have several recent American combat deaths." Asked for comment, a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, said, “No decisions have been made.”

Trump’s decision Tuesday to give Mattis authority to set force levels in Afghanistan mirrored similar powers he handed over earlier this year for U.S. fights in Iraq and Syria. The change was made public hours after Sen. John McCain, the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Republican chairman, blasted Mattis for the administration’s failure to present an overarching strategy for Afghanistan. McCain said the U.S. is “not winning” in Afghanistan, and Mattis agreed.


The finality of the decision isn’t entirely clear. While Trump has handed over the troop level decision-making, there is nothing preventing him from taking it back.


Mattis has repeatedly stressed that increasing the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan would take place within a broader, long-term strategy for stabilizing Afghanistan. In congressional testimony this week, he said the strategy will take into account regional influences, such as Pakistan’s role as a Taliban sanctuary. Regional powers Iran, India and China, which all have political stakes in the fate of Afghanistan, also must be considered.

The bulk of the additional troops will train and advise Afghan forces, according to the administration official, who wasn’t authorized to discuss details of the decision publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. A smaller number would be assigned to counterterror operations against the Taliban and IS, the official said.

From the Afghan side, reactions were split: Daulat Waziri, spokesman for Afghanistan’s defense ministry was reluctant to comment on specifics Friday but said the Afghan government supports the U.S. decision to send more troops. “The United States knows we are in the fight against terrorism, ” he said. “We want to finish this war in Afghanistan with the help of the NATO alliance.”

However, another Afghan lawmaker, Nasrullah Sadeqizada, however, was skeptical about additional troops and cautioned that the troop surge should be coordinated with the Afghan government and should not be done unilaterally by the United States. “The security situation continues to deteriorate in Afghanistan and the foreign troops who are here are not making it better,” he said.

The gamble to send even more troops in Afghanistan is a big one for the president who inherited America’s longest conflict with no clear endpoint or a defined strategy for American success, though U.S. troop levels are far lower than they were under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. In 2009, Obama authorized a surge of 30,000 troops into Afghanistan, bringing the total there to more than 100,000, before drawing down over the rest of his presidency.

Trump, who barely spoke about Afghanistan as a candidate or president, concentrating instead on crushing the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, may be underestimating the potential risk he faces by sending more troops in harms way. His predecessors both had hoped to win the war. Bush scored a quick success, helping allied militant groups oust the Taliban shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, before seeing the gains slip away as America’s focus shifted to the Iraq war. In refocusing attention on Afghanistan, Obama eliminated much of the country’s al-Qaida network and authorized the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, but failed to snuff out the Taliban’s rebellion.

Obama set a cap a year ago of 8,400 troops in Afghanistan after slowing the pace of what he hoped would be a U.S. withdrawal. Nevertheless, there are at least another 2,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan not included in the official count. These include forces that are technically considered temporary even if they’ve been in the war zone for months.

That said, Mattis’ deployment of more troops will be far smaller than Obama’s.  While the new troops could raise fears of mission creep, Mattis told lawmakers this week he didn’t envision returning to the force levels of 2010-11, when Obama thought he could pressure the Taliban into peace talks. Despite heavy losses, the Taliban fought on and in recent months appear to be gaining traction.

Meanwhile, this is the kind of news that awaits Trump: there have been almost 2,400 U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan since 2001. Three U.S. soldiers were killed and another was wounded in eastern Afghanistan this weekend in an attack claimed by the Taliban.


fleur de lis PrayingMantis Fri, 06/16/2017 - 17:24 Permalink

That's probably what this is all about.After all, we are only in Afghanistan to protect the world's biggest industry.And isn't it interesting how the opioid death rate is shooting into hyperspace?Are the narcotics shareholders trying to fire sale the whole racket before it goes bust or gets taken over by some other power?So just how many DC Swamp bankbooks are directly connected to the narcotics business?Enough to get a massive troop deployment, that's for sure.   

In reply to by PrayingMantis

BeansMcGreens greenskeeper carl Fri, 06/16/2017 - 17:02 Permalink

Its to keep the economy going. In the area  where I live almost 100% of home purchases are by the military.And they all drive new large vehicles.And they fill the schools with their children, who are put on a pedestal because of the big bucks the gov. sends the schools. Fifty percent off tickets to the football game, show military id.Never yet has there been a farmer appreciation night in the seventeen years my daughter has been going.War, what is it good for, absolutly everything if you got a county/country to run.

In reply to by greenskeeper carl

Teletubby SofaPapa Fri, 06/16/2017 - 14:23 Permalink

    I can only speak for my family, and my son, who's currently deployed to the Syrian/Iraq border: We don't do it for politics, or even patriotism primarily, but for what we get personally from serving, and being a part of something much bigger then ourselves, honor, discipline, conviction, courage. Although I suppose it started with my grandfather after arriving from Germany, declaring it's what we'd do, for the country that took us in. My father, his brother, myself, my brother, my sister, my daughter, and now my son. That said, we care little about the politics of it all, may not agree with our deployments, but those aren't decisions made by us, and we wouldn't follow unlawful orders. When the clowns in DC unleash the dogs of war, please try to remember not to blame the dogs for the destruction unleashed.

In reply to by SofaPapa

lesterbegood Teletubby Fri, 06/16/2017 - 18:14 Permalink

Actually I do blame the "dogs" of war for the destruction they have inflicted upon humanity. They are the ones who take "orders" from clearly evil demented "leaders" and manifest these orders into physical reality much to the detriment of humanity. "Just following orders or some purported law" is never an excuse for immoral behaivor.You speak of honor and courage? There is no honor or courage in fighting for evil. You speak of acting lawfully? The entire "War on/of Terror" is unlawful.It appears that you have abrogated your moral responsibility as a member of the human family, and chose to follow the orders of evil, immoral beings who are clearly waging war upon all humanity.

In reply to by Teletubby

holgerdanske Teletubby Fri, 06/16/2017 - 16:11 Permalink

I understand where you come from.But with all due respect, you have been brainwashed by an education and a life in a country used to place itself in front of anyone and anything else.There is no way the whole world can exist like you do. It is that simple.You are creating 10 enemies for each person you kill or maim outside of your country.Don't sacrifice your family for this political game!Seriously, and with all respect!

In reply to by Teletubby

BullyBearish Looney Fri, 06/16/2017 - 12:27 Permalink

Parents and family members, Do EVERYTING you can to keep your children OUT of the military.  The once-proud military is no longer "protecting" us, it has become a private army for the money printers with two supreme goals: cause the most destruction of war materials to enrich the mic and KEEP ALL CONFLICTS GOING! If they don't get the volunteer cannon fodder then the only way to continue their goals is to compel service, forced slavery which they know they could not get past the public without the mother of all false flags...They can print money to pay for their wars, but they cannot print your kids...

In reply to by Looney

The Ram 4shzl Fri, 06/16/2017 - 13:01 Permalink

This is sad.  I wonder if Trump knows that this kind of thing is why people voted for him.  Some of us were hoping to get a President that was focused on 'real issues'!  Oh well, looks like it will not change until the dollar tanks enough that military and contractors cannot be 'paid' in anything worthwhile.   Of course, at that point, the term 'pay' for any of us will not have relevance.  A civilization heading off the cliff before our eyes!  I suppose the Romans at least had the advantage of not watching their civilization evaporate in real time.  

In reply to by 4shzl

Deep In Vocal … Fri, 06/16/2017 - 12:21 Permalink

"We need to stop meddling in the middle east"  quote Donald "the clown boy" Trump a.k.a Donnie Goy.............. i'm so sick of it all......just fucking nuke the whole shit....asteroid hit in the water or radioactive waste traveling in the ready to die...