US to send 3,000 more troops to Afghanistan
13 May, 2017
The US military and State Department are recommending sending about 3,000 more US troops to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban, US media reported. Under the proposals, the military would also regain authority to target Taliban leaders with air strikes. President Donald Trump has not approved the plan yet, but is expected to make a decision before the NATO summit in Brussels on 25 May, unnamed officials say. It may include a request that other NATO countries send additional 3,000-5,000 soldiers. Currently there are 13,000 NATO troops in the country, 8,400 of them from the US.
US combat operations against the Taliban officially ended in 2014, but special forces have continued to provide support to Afghan troops. In February, the US commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson told a Senate committee there was “a shortfall of a few thousand” and he needed more troops to break a “stalemate”. US officials said the new plan would significantly expand the combat role for US troops. Last month, the Taliban announced the start of their “spring offensive”.