The president is expected to announce he’s sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan on Monday night, a strategy some hawks agree with.
President Trump will make his “first formal address to the nation as president” on Monday night at 9pm ET, and it concerns Afghanistan.
Trump and his national security team met Friday at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland to reach agreement on a strategy.
Trump tweeted over the weekend that he had made a decision. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, traveling in Afghanstan on Sunday, also said Trump had reached a decision. Mattis declined to discuss specifics before Trump’s announcement.
The New York Times reported that Trump “is likely to open the door to the deployment of several thousand troops.”
This will please some hawks who had pushed for more troops in the country. Some, like The Atlantic‘s Vance Serchuk, even pushed for a permanent presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan (not unlike the U.S. troop presence in South Korea):
Making such a commitment would send the unequivocal message to the Taliban that it cannot hope to prevail on the battlefield and must therefore pursue political reconciliation seriously. It would also position America for the tough diplomacy to convince Afghanistan’s neighbors, foremost Pakistan, to stop backing insurgent groups in preparation for an American exit.
The Times pointed out on Sunday that many of Afghanistan’s police and security forces are still undertrained and underequipped to battle Taliban-backed forces. An exception is the country’s special forces, but they’re only a small slice of the total troop presence:
The country’s current number of 21,000 special operations troops, while set to grow soon, account for only 7 percent of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. But they do from 70 percent to 80 percent of the actual fighting.
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