CENTCOM Commander Suggests More Troops Will Be Sent To Afghanistan
On Thursday, Commander of U.S. Central Command Army Gen. Joseph Votel, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he believes more troops will be needed in Afghanistan to successfully carry out the mission and break the stalemate in the over 15-year-long war in Afghanistan.
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“We are developing a strategy, and we are in discussions with the secretary and the department right now,” Gen. Votel told the committee. “I do believe it will involve additional forces to ensure that we can make the advise-and-assist mission more effective.”
The War in Afghanistan is the longest war in United States history. There are currently over 8,400 troops stationed in the Middle Eastern nation in order to assist Afghan forces against the Taliban and also conducting counterterrorism missions against Islamic terror groups such as al Qaeda.
Votel said that more troops could help improve and enhance the capabilities of the Afghan special operations forces and air force.
Votel didn’t specify the number of troops he believed were needed to improve the mission, but said that such a decision was one that would come from Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.
“That’s certainly a discussion we’re having with the secretary right now, and I won’t be pre-stage a decision,” Votel said. “But I certainly agree with what Gen. Nicholson’s approach is.”
Last month, the top U.S. General in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, testified in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee and stated that he believed he has a “shortfall of a few thousand” soldiers. He said that he needs more troops to advise Afghan forces and that he wants more advisors “at lower levels in the chain of command.”
On Thursday, the Pentagon announced that it was deploying 400 additional U.S. troops to Syria to assist the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in their mission to oust the Islamic State from their de facto capital, Raqqa.