Translation: More contractors making more dollars. We used to laugh at the Soviet Union for their folly in Afghanistan. Looks like they are using the same techniques to destroy the United States Union.
Donald Trump is reportedly being urged to send thousands of more troops to Afghanistan in a bid to break the stalemate in the 16-year war.
Senior military and policy advisers are proposing to the president a new strategy, which would reverse moves by former President Barack Obama to wind down America’s presence in the country.
Officials said about 3,000 to 5,000 extra troops, including hundreds of Special Operations forces, could be deployed, the New York Timesreported.
The plan would also allow the Pentagon, rather than the White House, to set troop numbers and give the military far broader authority to use airstrikes to target Taliban militants, according to the Washington Post.
Instead of hoping to decisively defeat the Taliban on the battlefield, the aim would be to bring the militants to the negotiating table.
“The review is an opportunity to send a message that, yes, the US is going to send more troops, but it’s not to achieve a forever military victory,” Andrew Wilder, an Afghanistan expert at the US Institute of Peace, told the Post. “Rather, it’s to try to bring about a negotiated end to this conflict.”
Mr Trump has yet to approve the proposals, which he will likely examine this week, CNN reported. He is expected to make a decision before the Nato summit in Brussels on May 25, which he plans to attend.
The strategy is being driven by H.R. McMaster, the president’s national security adviser. However, it is being met with scepticism from some of Mr Trump’s advisers, including Steve Bannon, the Post reported. As a sign of the split, the strategy is being referred to derisively as “McMaster’s War” by some within the White House, the newspaper said.
The White House has declined to comment.
Afghan soldiers are suffering what Pentagon auditors call “shockingly high” battlefield casualties, and prospects are narrowing for a negotiated peace settlement with the Taliban.
The insurgents may have failed to capture and hold a major city, but they are controlling or influencing ever more territory.
“The situation is deteriorating,” aid Stephen Biddle, a George Washington University professor, told AP.
Whereas Mr Trump called for significant changes to how the US fights IS in Iraq and Syria, he has said far less about the much longer US war in Afghanistan.
US troops are stepping up attacks on an extremist group considered an Islamic State affiliate in the country. The three most recent US deaths in Afghanistan were in combat last month against the IS affiliate, which also was the target of a much-publicised US airstrike April 13 using the “mother of all bombs.”
Anthony Cordesman, a defence analyst at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said Afghan forces were not capable of securing the country.
Unless Mr Trump adopts “a far more decisive approach,” security could collapse “either slowly and painfully over years or as a result of some shattering military defeat or critical political power struggle at the top that divides the security forces and the country,” he told AP.
Army General John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, wants an infusion of US and allied troops to bolster support for the Afghan army.
But his request took a back seat to a broader administration review of Afghan policy and a push for Nato to contribute more troops. Both of those matters will be discussed at the Nato summit May 25.