The U.S. Army is working on a plan that involves sending more troops to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan as soon as this spring, according to The Washington Post.
Last August, President Donald Trump outlined a new Afghanistan strategy that promised to take a tougher and more aggressive approach toward defeating the Taliban. American armed forces have been fighting in the country for more than 16 years. Recently, the number of American troops in Afghanistan has increased from 8,500 to 14,000. Increasing the number of American troops in the region is a different course of action from that of the Obama Administration, which was working on slowly pulling out of the country.
The latest proposal from the Army is to send an additional 1,000 troops, which will be part of a new combat team called the Security Force Assistance Brigade.
This strategy adjustment has not been signed off on by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, but is popular with many of the Army’s leadership support.
“This is a concept that got accelerated for Afghanistan, and it has been quite a process,” said a senior military official who spoke to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity.
One major difference between the Obama and Trump administrations is that Trump is allowing the Department of Defense to make many of their own strategy decisions, while Obama was known to keep a close oversight and micromanage the agency, according to many military officials. Trump has made it clear that he wants the Pentagon to pursue the strategies that they feel are best, but he expects to quickly see signs of progress, especially after investing more troops and resources into Afghanistan.
According to Gen. John Nicholson Jr., who is a top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, having additional firepower in the country will allow the Afghan police and military to take control of 80 percent of country within two years. This is a significant improvement, as the Afghan government currently controls two-thirds of the country with the other third being controlled mostly by the Taliban.
The goal of the Army’s new 1,000-troop Security Force Assistance Brigade is to show rapid advancement in the fight to destroy the Taliban.
“At the core of the debate is the Army’s new Security Force Assistance Brigade, a concept that was developed under the direction of Gen. Mark Milley, the Army’s top general in the Pentagon. Unlike a traditional brigade, the unit does not come with any junior enlisted soldiers or junior officers and is broken up into 36 teams, each consisting of 12 soldiers, that can be parceled out among the forces they are advising,” according to the Post.