Sunday, 25 June, 2017

Trump hands to Pentagon troop level decisions on Afghanistan

Analysis from Kabul Afghanistan needs civilian investment not bombs US Defense chief say he has power to set Afghan troop levels
Darrell Mcdonald | 15 June, 2017, 02:22

Defense Secretary James Mattis' new authority to manage troop levels in Afghanistan will likely mean the deployment of thousands of additional USA service members this summer. It's a break from past practice that Mattis said will enable him to more effectively manage the war effort.

"The delegation of this authority does not in itself change the force levels for Afghanistan", Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a statement.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official told AFP that Pentagon chief Jim Mattis can now directly adjust troop numbers, though the official would not confirm whether a new "force management level" - currently at around 8,400 - had been finalized. Mattis has warned Congress the US -backed Afghan forces were not beating the Taliban despite more than 15 years of war.

He said any decision to increase the number of troops would come with a change in strategy that alters the way Afghan forces are supported by global airpower, how the US interacts with the Afghan government and would take a greater regional approach to the conflict, rather than looking at Afghanistan in isolation. Jon Tester (D-N.M.), Mattis said that peace in Afghanistan is possible but will require the global community to "hold with it and when we reduce, we reduce based on conditions on the ground, not an arbitrary timeline". Mattis said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies are waiting for a new strategy from the additional US and the USA force commitment before publicly declaring their own.

When Obama announced that he was sending 30,000 troops to Afghanistan during a speech at West Point in 2009, his decision making process had included reviews from both Gen. Stanley McChrystal, then the head of US forces in Afghanistan, and the White House.

About 13,000 U.S and coalition troops are now in Afghanistan.

Mattis said that it is best for the US and the "international community that our economy depends" to see terror groups beaten back and the Afghan government arrive at a position of strength.

Mattis said in testimony Tuesday that the strategy is being developed in a broader context that includes Afghanistan's neighbors, Iran and Pakistan, as well as India. Mattis said there is a role for the State Department in putting diplomatic and economic pressure on these countries.

The Afghan government was assessed by the US military to control or influence just 59.7 percent of Afghanistan's 407 districts as of Feb 20, a almost 11 percentage-point decrease from the same time in 2016, according to data released by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top USA commander in Afghanistan, has told Congress he could use an infusion of US and allied troops to bolster support for the Afghan army.

Earlier this year, the Pentagon was considering a request for roughly 3,000 more troops, mainly for training and advising. The increased fight has led to a recent string of American deaths.

Recommended

  • Oil Market Rebalancing At 'Slower Pace

    Oil Market Rebalancing At 'Slower Pace

    Looking at anticipated growth in global oil demand this year, OPEC reiterated its forecast of 1.27 million barrels per day (bpd). West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for July delivery dropped by 1.01 percent to $45.99 per barrel.

    Qatar foreign minister rejects intervention in foreign policy

    Saudi Arabia has also closed off Qatar's only land border, a crucial lifeline for food imports. Doha later claimed that the report was posted by hackers who compromised the agency's website.
    Nordstrom stock soars on word retailer could go private

    Nordstrom stock soars on word retailer could go private

    After $1.70 actual EPS reported by General Motors Company for the previous quarter, Wall Street now forecasts 2.94% EPS growth. On Thursday, December 1 the stock rating was upgraded by Bank of America to "Buy". (NYSE: JWN ) rating on Friday, October 2.
  • Puerto Rican Day parade draws thousands despite controversy

    The board recommended, among many measures, to cut US$300 million to $500 million from the Puerto Rican state government budget. About 1.3 million Puerto Ricans cast ballots in the last referendum in 2012, which also saw a majority support for statehood.

    Tom Cruise's 'Mummy' Reboot Is Dead on Arrival

    Director Alex Kurtzman bandages together secondhand ideas, weak writing and an absence of onscreen chemistry with CGI aplenty. Henry Jekyll ( Russell Crowe ).
    Why the Warriors will win the NBA Finals

    Why the Warriors will win the NBA Finals

    It has been a relatively quiet 2017 postseason in terms of flagrant fouls, technicals and ejections. The Cavaliers face the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday in O.
  • Suspect in congressional baseball shooting has died

    Suspect in congressional baseball shooting has died

    He was charged in April 2006 with battery and aiding damage to a motor vehicle but the charges were later dismissed, records show. Capitol Police officers who were in Scalise's security detail returned fire and wounded the shooter, who was taken into custody.

    Israel advances plans for additional 1500 settler homes

    The "illegal" settlements are unacceptable, and Israel's action is damaging the grounds for a two-state solution, it added. Almost 400,000 Jewish settlers are estimated to be living in the West Bank along with 2.8 million Palestinians.

    Kane rescues England as hat tricks light up Euro qualifiers

    He's a great character, you know. "I can't be annoyed", Strachan said. "I was looking to do the exact same with the second free-kick.
  • Retail Sales Unexpectedly Fall, Core Inflation Hits 2-Year Low Before Fed

    Retail Sales Unexpectedly Fall, Core Inflation Hits 2-Year Low Before Fed

    Over the past 12 months, food costs are up just 0.9 per cent while energy prices have risen 5.4 per cent. Sales at electronics and appliance stores plunged 2.8 percent, the largest drop since March 2010.
    Electricity cut at Navalny's offices in Moscow

    Electricity cut at Navalny's offices in Moscow

    The Tverskaya street is blocked by trucks placed by authorities in Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2017. Small protests have also been reported in cities in the Russian Far East, the BBC reports .
    Philippine Marines Killed in Fight With Militants

    Philippine Marines Killed in Fight With Militants

    He reiterated that this assistance is part of the two countries' standing cooperation against terrorism. It was discontinued in 2015 but a small presence remained for logistics and technical support.

Movers of Yesterday - Southern Co (NYSE:SO), Murphy Oil Corporation (NYSE:MUR) Movers of Yesterday - Southern Co (NYSE:SO), Murphy Oil Corporation (NYSE:MUR) Bessemer Group Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Murphy Oil Corporation during the fourth quarter valued at $1,076,000. It worsened, as 40 investors sold MUR shares while 127 reduced holdings. 60 funds opened positions while 160 raised stakes.

Champions Trophy: Photos from Australia Vs Bangladesh match Champions Trophy: Photos from Australia Vs Bangladesh match On both occasions, it has been Australia who were batting in the early stages of their innings when bad weather ended play. Chasing 183, Australia were 83-1 when rain arrived after 16 overs, four overs short of the minimum needed for a game.

Northam wins Democratic nomination for governor A victory for Northam would be an affirmation of the power of Democratic establishment that's backed him, including Sens. You would normally expect the nationally focused Perriello to have an advantage in the nationally focused D.C. suburbs.

Mayors of Pittsburgh and Paris Say They Have Their Own Climate Deal With Trump's withdrawal, the USA joins Syria and Nicaragua as countries in the United Nations climate group not on board with the Paris climate accord.

Doubts over my future drove me on, says Nadal Wawrinka , who triumphed in Geneva in the buildup to the tournament, had also won a career-high 11 successive matches on clay. Former top-ranked Andy Roddick has expressed his astonishment at Rafael Nadal's incredible run to his 10th French Open title.

Kent State student dead in apparent homicide Kent State student dead in apparent homicide Taylor Pifer , 21; and Kylie Pifer , 18, were found dead in a bedroom of their Cleveland-area home on June 11, according to WOIO . Sonya Pifer told Cleveland19that the girls' father has been estranged from his daughters since they became adults.

DC, Maryland to sue Trump alleging breach of constitutional oath DC, Maryland to sue Trump alleging breach of constitutional oath The lawsuit, obtained by the Post , from Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh - both Democrats - alleges that Mr. The suit will ask the court for an injunction blocking Trump from accepting foreign money, the person said.

California winner of $447M Powerball can claim prize Monday California winner of $447M Powerball can claim prize Monday The lucky punter matched all six numbers on their Powerball ticket which was sold in southern California. This photo provided by Fadi Alberre shows the Marietta Liquors & Deli in Menifee, Calif. .

Eighth Largest Powerball Jackpot Ever Climbs to $435 Million California is one of 44 states, plus Washington, DC, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, that participate in Powerball. The Powerball jackpot has jumped to $435 million, after Wednesday's drawing failed to yield a victor for the top prize.

Penguins regroup, Predators look for road magic in Game 5 He of four regular-season goals netted his second of the playoffs in the second period, giving the Penguins their 6-0 lead. Justin Schultz scored on the power play 1:31 in and Bryan Rust added another at even strength less than six minutes later.

Alonso returns to McLaren with a deadline So if the calendar stays between 20 or 21, the range we know from the last couple of years, I will be happy to continue. As it stands, the 2018 F1 calendar will see the Malaysian Grand Prix dropped and the French Grand Prix will be revived.

Out-of-nowhere Ostapenko to face Halep for French Open title Ostapenko faltered when she tried to serve it out at 6-5, but the Latvian took the tie-break with a swinging backhand volley. It quickly improved, however, and she mostly cruised through to the quarterfinals before her comeback against Svitolina.

Trump pays somber tribute to fallen troops on Memorial Day Trump pays somber tribute to fallen troops on Memorial Day President Trump lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery . Trump, who attended a military secondary school, personalized his part of the ceremony.

Super Meat Boy Creator Reveals New Game For PC And Switch Super Meat Boy Creator Reveals New Game For PC And Switch There are also over 20 cartridges to collect, each of which is a self-contained mini-game with its own small set of achievements. As you'll see in the teaser video above, The End is Nigh is another super-tough platformer.

Alleged Russian Hack Reveals a Deeply Flawed Election System Alleged Russian Hack Reveals a Deeply Flawed Election System The NSA employs thousands of private contractors for its work and victor was one of those contractors who released the report. VR Systems says it was alerted to the danger by a client, and the company advised its clients not to open the suspect email.