Mattis says Afghan forces fully engaged for first time

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Mr Mattis told members of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday that the Trump administration is being very clear and firm in what it expects from Pakistan and is using all aspects of the government to bring about the change, working internationally. "Radically enforce it. If you radically enforce it, they're liable", Corker said in July.

Dunford says about $5 billion of the total expense is required to support the Afghan security forces.

The senator also asked when Trump will decide whether to close a controversial Taliban office in Qatar.

Dunford acknowledged, however, that the war in Afghanistan is now a stalemate.

USA officials said that the United States will send about 3,500 additional troops to Afghanistan.

"We will not accept a lack of information, a lack of strategy, a lack of coordination with this committee". Angus King whether the deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was beneficial to the US, Mattis answered affirmatively.

Mattis observed that Trump administration's South Asia strategy is not an exclusive strategy. "We also reduced the aviation, artillery and intelligence support provided to the Afghan forces". That frees up the Afghans to "take the fight to the enemy", Mattis said. "Make no mistake, this is combat duty, but the Afghan forces remain in the lead for the fighting".

"We gave up all of our leverage already".

Although Trump insisted he would not talk about numbers of troops, he hinted he would embrace the Pentagon's proposal to boost troop numbers by almost 4,000, augmenting the roughly 8,400 Americans now stationed there.

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People of Afghanistan, he said, have come to have "a deep and abiding affection" for the Indian people.

His comments came at a time when Pakistani Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif is visiting USA for meeting Secretary of state Rex Tillerson to resume bilateral talks and find out ways to dispel tension caused after President Trump's south Asia policy speech on august 21.

The Washington Examiner reports the new rules of engagement are going to be a complaint to another change in strategy, which will put USA forces closer to the front lines.

"We are natural partners, India and the United States, and we recognise each other's sovereignty". Afghan military casualties were also going down, he added.

During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, the top United States military official asserted that he believed Pakistan's spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had ties to terrorist groups.

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.

"My instinct was to pull out", Trump said as he spoke of his frustration with a war that has killed thousands of U.S. troops and cost United States taxpayers trillions of dollars.

The United States is planning to send about 3,000 additional troops to its 11,000 already in Afghanistan to aid Kabul's fight against the resurgent Taliban, 16 years after the USA -led invasion drove the militants from power.

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