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Mattis: Trump has authorised me to decide on Afghan troop levels

Mattis: Trump has authorised me to decide on Afghan troop levels

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Jun 15, 2017 - 08:29

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The US Defense Secretary James Mattis has told lawmakers that the US President Donald Trump has authorized him to decide on troop levels in Afghanistaninfo-icon.

“At noon yesterday, President Trump delegated to me the authority to manage troop numbers in Afghanistan,” Mattis said during a Congressional briefing here.

However, he was quick to assert that he has not taken a decision in this regard.

“The delegation of this authority, consistent with the authority President Trump granted me two months ago for Iraq and Syria does not, at this time, change the troop numbers for Afghanistan,” he said.

“Together in the interagency, we will define the way ahead and I will set the U.S. military commitment, consistent with the commander in chief strategic direction and the foreign policy as dictated by secretary of State Tillerson,” Mattis said.

This he said ensures the Department of Defense can facilitate its missions and nimbly align American commitment to the situation on the ground.

“Our overall mission Afghanistan remains the same. To train, advise and assist the Afghan forces so they can safeguard the Afghan people and terrorists can find no haven in Afghanistan for attacking us or others. The revised Afghanistan strategy with the new approach will be presented to the president for his approval in the coming weeks,” Mattis said.

The Afghan Ambassador to the US welcomed the decision. “Afghanistan welcomes the decision by President Trump to give Defense Secretary General James Mattis the authority to set U.S. military troop levels in Afghanistan – a development that underscores the United States’ strong commitment to our two countries’ long-term joint efforts to defeat common enemies and bring about peace and stability,” said Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib.

“As part of a larger US strategy that we are working on with our American counterparts, we are confident that this new delegation of authority to the Department of Defense and Secretary Mattis will advance the strategic objectives of the U.S.-Afghan mission and provide essential support to the brave Afghan troops fighting on the front lines of this global struggle between good and evil,” Mohib said.

“Daesh, Al-Qaeda and the Talibaninfo-icon – along with more than two-dozen other terror groups – threaten not just the people of Afghanistan but also the United States and other nations,” he added.

“The Afghan Government and all Afghans are united in their desire for peace and political stability, and we remain grateful to the United States for being our foundational partner as we build a better future for our children,” Mohib said. 

(ENDS)

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