The U.S. military says it will send a revised war plan for Afghanistan to President Donald Trump as early as next week, with experts saying it likely will include a request for more troops.
Theresa Whelan, the Pentagon’s acting assistant defense secretary for special operations, on May 4 told Congress that military leaders are “actively looking at adjustments to the approach in Afghanistan right now.”
“The interest is to move beyond the stalemate and also to recognize that Afghanistan is a very important partner for the United States in a very tricky region,” she told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Senior U.S. military leaders, including the top commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, have been saying they need more trainers and advisers to break what they called a “stalemate” in the fight against the Taliban, Islamic State (IS), and Al-Qaeda militants.
“I expect that these proposals will go to the president within the next week, and the intent is to do just that, to move beyond the stalemate,” Whelan said.
A NATO official told the Associated Press that the United States has sent letters to alliance members asking them to increase their troop commitments as well.
General Raymond Thomas, head of U.S. Special Operations Command, also told the Senate committee on May 4 that a critical factor in regard to a new Afghanistan strategy is the need for an enduring U.S. presence in the country.
Current and former U.S. officials have said the Pentagon is looking to add up to 5,000 troops to the 8,400 currently in Afghanistan.
U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan more than 15 years ago to help drive the Taliban government from power. Offensive actions have largely been turned over to the Afghan military, which has struggled to resist a recent increase in Taliban violence.