By Will Porter
While the deployment isn’t yet official, Secretary of Defense James Mattis—who received new, unilateral authorities over troop deployments to the war-torn country on Tuesday—is expected to make an official announcement as early as next week.
A spokesman for the Afghan defense ministry, Daulat Waziri, was hesitant to comment on any specifics of the deployment, but said the Afghan government supports the decision.
“The United States knows we are in the fight against terrorism,” Waziri said. “We want to finish this war in Afghanistan with the help of the NATO alliance.”
The majority of the newly-deployed troops will play a train and advise role for Afghan forces, who have been facing setbacks in the fight against the Taliban and other militant organizations in Afghanistan.
According to data released by the U.S Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the Afghan government controls less than 60 percent of the country’s 407 districts as of Feb. 20, nearly 11 percent less than it did last year around the same time.
By early 2016, the Taliban had taken nearly 65 percent of the Helmand Province, the largest province in the country, and just a few months later had temporarily pushed its way into Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of Helmand.
These Taliban gains only underscore the dismal situation in the country. In 2010, America had around 100,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan, which was still not enough to produce a victory over the Taliban insurgency. It is not clear what 4,000 additional soldiers could possibly accomplish, regardless of their role.
After a large withdrawal late last year, about 8,500 American soldiers remain in Afghanistan today, along with some 29,000 private contractors. Moreover, while the organization’s combat mission ended in 2014, several thousand NATO troops are stationed in the country as well.
NATO, for its part, recently mulled over its own troop increase for Afghanistan, but the idea was met with some resistance.
“They are thinking of sending soldiers […]. [The soldiers] will not do anything,” a retired four-star general in the Afghan National Army, Sher Mohammad Karimi, told Al Jazeera.
“If they are advisers, then it’s ok,” Karimi added.
Instead of additional soldiers, Afghan defense ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said local Afghan forces need better equipment and training.
“What we need now is bombing planes and also modern engineering technology,” Radmanish said.
The U.S. Army, in a decision separate from the upcoming deployment, will also send around 1,500 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division to Afghanistan this summer, who will also carry out advise and assist missions.
The planned escalation of America’s longest-running war is perfectly consistent with other ramped-up military activities of the Trump administration in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere, but a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report spells out how years of military interventionism and imperialism abroad has begun to interfere with the U.S. military’s readiness to do its actual job: defend the country.
The deployment, whenever it will be confirmed, marks yet another episode in the president’s ongoing betrayal of everything his presidency was supposed to stand for. Trump vowed to drain the swamp, halt wasteful overseas adventures and reorient American policy in a direction that benefits American citizens.
Don’t hold your breath, it might be fatal.
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Contributed by Will Porter of The Daily Sheeple.