US 'not winning' in Afghanistan, Mattis tells Congress

US 'not winning' in Afghanistan, Mattis tells Congress

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford (L) and Defense Secretary James Mattis prepare to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

Dunford began his remarks by asking for more money for the military, which has been hampered since 2013 by a set of prescribed budget cuts known as sequestration. Since 9/11, war has accelerated wear and tear on equipment and troops, Dunford explained. "But, most of all, that the Taliban no longer has the freedom of movement that we're seeing right now that has been rolled back", he said.

Committee Chairman John McCain criticized the administration's efforts in Afghanistan.

"It would be a war like nothing we have seen since 1953", Mattis said about the end of the Korean War.

Mattis said he expected to present a revised strategy by mid-July.

Their deaths came just days after a US Army special forces soldier was also killed in the region.

"We are not winning in Afghanistan right now".

"We're now six months into this administration, we still haven't got a strategy for Afghanistan", McCain said, noting it was hard to get behind an Afghanistan budget request without knowing what the plan is. "We will correct this as soon as possible". Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) when he asked: "Are we better shape now than a year ago?"

"Rapid technological change includes developments in advanced computing, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, autonomy, robotics, miniaturization, additive manufacturing, meta-materials, directed energy, and hypersonics-the very technologies that ensure we will be able to fight and win the wars of the future", said Mattis. He said violence originating in Afghanistan would not stay within the borders of the country, but would go on to threaten the rest of the world.

"It took us years to get into this situation".

The Pentagon and White House have been reviewing an option to send 3,000 to 5,000 additional United States forces exclusively in that training and advisory role.

"The Afghan government, with global help, will be able to handle the violence [and] drive it down to a level local security forces can handle it", said Mattis. More than 2,200 USA troops have died, and more than 20,000 more have been wounded. To date, more than 2,300 Americans have been killed and over 17,000 wounded. "Do you agree that we're not winning in Afghanistan?"

Mattis, a Trump appointee, placed the blame on Congress for what he considers to be an unprepared American fighting force, observing that short-term budget measures and a current law that limits military spending are placing USA troops at risk.

Sen. John McCain is criticizing Pentagon leaders for not finding a new way ahead for the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan. This mandates new investment, innovative approaches and new program starts - something denied under continuing resolutions, Mattis said. Syrian President Bashar Assad is "flexing his muscle" and moving to break through to the surrounded government garrison in Deir-ez-Zor. Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Dunford said that competitors like Russian Federation and China have studied United States power projection and have invested in assets that could potentially offset the USA military's advantages.

There are now over 10,000 United States troops deployed in the country, and the U.S. is spending $3.1 billion per month there. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denounced the bombing as "illegitimate and unlawful" and "yet another harsh violation of Syria's sovereignty". "The commander on the ground has asked for more", he said.

The delegation of troop level authority to Mattis presumably means that the defense secretary will decide how many additional American troops could be headed to Afghanistan.

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