Trump Won't Yet Commit To Sending More Troops To Afghanistan


The administration is considering sending up to 4,000 additional US forces to Afghanistan, in addition to asking North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to send more troops, but no additional troop announcements are expected during the president's visit, defense officials said.

His certification is necessary for reimbursement of a part of Coalition Support Funds to Pakistan for its military's operation against terrorist goups.

Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump on Friday said that the Trump administration will not provide Dollars 350 million in coalition support funds to Pakistan after the US Defence Secretary said he can not certify that Islamabad has taken "sufficient actions" against the dreaded Haqqani network.

Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford made the rounds Wednesday on Capitol Hill, reportedly briefing lawmakers on the White House's strategy for Afghanistan and on the ongoing coalition campaign to defeat Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Now 8,400 US troops are in Afghanistan, training and advising local security forces, the newspaper reported.

"I think Baghdadi is alive", Mr. Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.

However, before withholding of $50 million announced on Friday, Mattis' predecessor Ash Carter decided a year ago to withhold another $300 million of the funding. Afghan officials have blamed the group for the May truck bombing in Kabul that killed almost 100 people.

Pakistan has rejected parts of a recent United States report, which said that "Pakistan did not take substantial action against the Afghan Taliban or Haqqani, or substantially limit their ability to threaten United States interests in Afghanistan".

Inside the Pentagon, hopes were high that President Trump's emphasis on military might to achieve US national security objectives coupled with a hands-off management style would give the department the resources and leeway it needed to bring the Afghan war to an end.

The Pakistan-based Haqqani network is better known for a number of high-profile attacks against American and Western interests in war-torn Afghanistan.

Earlier this week, the U.S. State Department released its annual "Country Reports on Terrorism 2016", which accuses Pakistan of not taking significant action to constrain the activities of the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network.

"This decision does not reduce the significance of the sacrifices that the Pakistani military has undertaken over previous years", he said.

Following the report, Pakistan officials vigorously objected and said they have conducted extensive operations against terror groups in tribal areas.

"Pakistan's efforts have reduced the ability of some militant groups to use North Waziristan and the [tribal areas] as a safe haven for terrorism".

"However, the Taliban and the Haqqani Network continue to operate in other locations in Pakistan", Stump added.