Additional 3K US Troops in Afghanistan Will Be on 'Combat Duty'

Trump's defense secretary disagrees with POTUS says Iran nuclear deal should stand

Mattis said that the Afghanistan military and police forces are fully engaged in combat operations for the first time during the 16-year-old war and are suffering fewer casualties as they continue to improve their competence on the battlefield.

"In the six weeks since the president made his announcement, this committee and the Congress, more broadly, still does not know numerous crucial details of this strategy", McCain said in opening testimony.

As part of the plan, the Pentagon is boosting troop numbers by about 3,500, augmenting the roughly 11,000 Americans now stationed there.

During a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Trump has trashed the worldwide accord, a cornerstone of Barack Obama's presidency, as the worst agreement ever negotiated by the United States and signaled he may abandon the agreement.

"My military assessment is that we drew down our advisory effort and combat support for the Afghan forces too far and too fast", Dunford said.

When Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, asked for a specific number, Mattis replied, "No, ma'am". We must be well-informed.

About 3,500 more American forces are being sent to Afghanistan as part of Trump's new strategy.

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Citing a desire to keep enemy forces off-balance, the Trump administration has declined to disclose some commonly released details about the plan, including exactly how many additional troops will deploy. We must be convinced of the merits of the administration's actions. Trump's tough words about Pakistan, a troubled USA security partner, infuriated Islamabad, which has denied the country provides safe havens for the Taliban.

If Trump does not recertify by October 15 that Iran is in compliance, Congress would have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran suspended under the accord.

"If he chooses to do so anyway, he will be acting purely based on divisive politics and risky ideology, and endangering the security of the USA and our allies", Dylan Williams, vice president of government affairs for the group, said in a statement.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, lectured Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford at the opening of the hearing. Mattis and Dunford said that broadly, that will require the United States to build more support internationally to sway Pakistan from doing so.

"I think the specifics are best shared with you alone", he said, adding he is open to asking President Donald Trump to authorize the deployment of more than 3,000 troops if he determines it is necessary.

Trump is weighing whether the deal serves U.S. security interests as he faces a mid-October deadline for certifying that Iran is complying with the pact, a decision that could sink an agreement strongly supported by the other powers that negotiated it.

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