Afghanistan pull-out would be 'to our ultimate peril': James Mattis

Posted October 04, 2017

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday the Pentagon's new strategy on Afghanistan will bring USA troops closer to the front lines to fight alongside government forces in an effort to force the Taliban into peace negotiations.

In a House of Representatives hearing later on Tuesday, Mattis said Iran was "fundamentally" in compliance with the nuclear deal.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis offered the most detailed view of President Donald Trump's strategy to turn the tide of war in Afghanistan Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"We want to be your partners", McCain said.

"The Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into", he said on 19 September. There are already 11,000 U.S. troops there.

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After a noticeable pause, Mattis finally replied: "Yes, senator, I do". The strategy hits upon larger themes of Trump's August 21 address to the American people, when he pledged to adopt a conditions-based approach for withdrawal from Afghanistan that focuses on pressuring Pakistan to crack down on terror safe havens.

Dunford acknowledged, however, that the war in Afghanistan is now a stalemate. He indicated that after an effective military effort it eventually may be possible to reach a political settlement in Afghanistan that includes elements of the Taliban. Dunford says the US will "fight to win" by attacking enemies, "crushing" al-Qaida, and preventing terrorist attacks against Americans.

Citing a desire to keep enemy forces off-balance, the Trump administration has declined to disclose some commonly released details about the plan, including exactly how many additional troops will deploy. The additional troops will augment the roughly 8,400 Americans now stationed there. Trump's tough words about Pakistan, a troubled US security partner, infuriated Islamabad, which has denied the country provides safe havens for the Taliban.

Sen. Angus King of ME asked Mattis during a congressional hearing if he thinks it's in the national security interests of the United States to stay a part of the worldwide accord.

Mattis, who just returned from his maiden trip to India, said, "We discussed ways to expand our collaboration to improve long-term regional stability and security".

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Trump has been hinting for months that he's ready to take steps to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal as a crucial October deadline approaches that could decide the fate of the agreement.

Mattis has signed off on sending at least 3,000 more soldiers to the 16-year-old war, and told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the idea is to use the new troops much like American forces are now arrayed in Iraq and Syria, where they provide advice and call in air and artillery strikes on insurgent positions.

But Mattis said it's in the national security interest of the United States to stay a part of the worldwide accord.

"The point I would make is if we can confirm that Iran is living by the agreement, if we can determine that this is in our best interests then clearly we should stay with it", Mattis added.

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