At this point we can't bring political solution to Afghan war: Mattis
Oct 05, 2017, 00:20
Chairman Dunford added that the worldwide effort must be "long-term", saying it will take at least six or seven years to transform the Afghan air force into the fully capable attack weapon needed to fight enemy forces in the country.
AP reported that after Obama declared the end of the US-led "combat mission" in 2014 and announced a plan to reduce the number of Americans there to an embassy presence by 2017, the Taliban went on the offense, taking back control of or contesting territory where 36 percent of the population lives.
Details on the overall size of the U.S. deployment have not been made public, but the "more than 3,000" Mattis is referring to appears to be separate from the mid-September announcement of over 6,000 ground troops heading to Afghanistan from Fort Carson. "We will not accept a lack of information, a lack of a strategy, and a lack of communication with this committee".
The bumper-sticker version of the strategy is "4R+S", the secretary said: regionalize, realign, reinforce, reconcile and sustain.
Mattis said "regionalize" means to take a comprehensive view to resolving the war that includes regional players India, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, and China.
He added that the Afghan forces are becoming bolder in combat because they know US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces are using airpower to strike the Taliban and other militants on "the high ground".
His stance also differs from that of other signatories, four of whom signed a statement that said, "Unilateral US action that jeopardized the JCPOA would be a grave mistake" and would harm US and European interests. "Make no mistake, this is combat duty".
Even with about 11,000 troops in Afghanistan, that's still well below of the peak during the surge in August 2010 when there were about 100,000 service members in Afghanistan. In talking with the American people, we will tell them we are adding the troops.
Mattis said that Pakistan has a "convoluted history" with terrorism.
Since Pakistan had argued vigorously that the ISI is an arm of the Pakistan military and is fully within its control, and does not have a separate agenda or decide foreign policy goals, Islamabad is now squarely in the U.S crosshairs as a state sponsor of terrorism. Dunford says the US will "fight to win" by attacking enemies, "crushing" al-Qaida, and preventing terrorist attacks against Americans.
"We've seen the attacks on India, as well". Afghan military casualties were also going down, he added.
Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says the U.S.is spending $12.5 billion overall to wage America's longest war.
"The fighting will continue to be carried out by our Afghan partners, but our advisers will accompany tactical units to advise and assist and bring North Atlantic Treaty Organisation fire support to bear when needed", Mattis testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"We're not at a point where we can bring a successful political solution to the war", he said. While that was a good scenario militarily for the United States "but politically it makes it more problematic to try to find out who actually speaks for Taliban".
"It gives the Afghans a little more confidence in what they are doing", he said.
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