Sunday, July 09, 2017

White House limiting number of troops to Afghanistan: report

The Trump administration has set a cap on the number of additional troops Defense Secretary James Mattis can send to Afghanistan without getting additional approval from the White House, The Wall Street Journal reported.

President Trump last month gave Mattis authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan, with 3,000 to 5,000 additional soldiers as the reported goal.

But days after Trump granted the authority, national security adviser H.R. McMaster penned a classified memo that limits forces to Afghanistan to no more than 3,900 troops. Mattis must confer with the White House before sending more beyond that number, people familiar with the document told the Journal.

The memo — sent to a small group of administration officials — came as a surprise to some. A few officials told the Journal they thought that the White House would impose no such restrictions. The White House National Security Council declined to comment to the paper.

Dana White, the Pentagon’s chief spokeswoman, told the Journal she couldn’t discuss details of any classified memos.

Defense officials said that though the memo constrains military decisionmaking, it’s not likely to tie up Pentagon planning.

The White House is struggling with how it will end the 16-year war in Afghanistan that has cost trillions of dollars, with Pentagon leaders calling for more troops to end what many consider a stalemate. - Read More, thehill

White House limiting number of troops to Afghanistan: report


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