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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.”
Secretary of Defense James Mattis said the United States was not winning the war in Afghanistan in Congressional testimony on Tuesday, vowing to offer a new strategy to lawmakers this summer that will call for the deployment thousands of additional troops to the country.
H/t reader squodgy:
“Can’t let the awful Taliban take control of Opium Poppy production again….prices would rocket!!!!!”
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The United Kingdom is planning to send more troops to Afghanistan where insecurity is increasing despite the fact that the US and its allies have deployed thousands of forces there since 2001.
“The UK is prepared to increase its contribution to troops in a non-combat role to demonstrate our continued support for the NATO mission in Afghanistan,” a government source said Thursday.
The United States currently has around 8,400 soldiers in Afghanistan with about another 5,000 troops from NATO allies. Britain currently has about 500 troops in Afghanistan.
After already escalating the fight in Afghanistan last month by dropping its GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB or “mother of all bombs”), the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal, and engaging in a 3-hour gunfight this past weekend that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Sheikh Abdul Hasib, Trump is apparently considering whether to once again expand U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.
According to the Washington Post, the new plan, which still needs the approval of the president, calls for expanding the U.S. military role as part of a broader effort to push an increasingly confident and resurgent Taliban back to the negotiating table, U.S. officials said.
At roughly 7pm local time on Thursday, the United States military used its GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), nicknamed “the mother of all bombs,” for the first time in combat. The US Air Force used it in Afghanistan to target Islamic State tunnels and personnel. The 21,000-pound (9,525 kg) bomb was dropped in the Achin district of the Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan.
The Pentagon confirmed the use of the MOAB, and is currently assessing damage. General John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, signed off on its use, CNN reported. Authority was also sought from General Joseph Votel, commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM). The Air Force “took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties,” CENTCOM added.
CENTCOM after U.S. drops GBU-43 bomb on ISIS targets in Afghanistan: U.S. “will continue offensive operations until ISIS-K is destroyed.” pic.twitter.com/qyrNXhpQbu
— ABC News (@ABC) April 13, 2017
Ron Paul’s thought-provoking speech on the House floor from February 2009 seems as appropriate now as it did then…
“Madam Speaker, I have a few questions for my colleagues.
What if our foreign policy of the past century is deeply flawed and has not served our national security interest?