A report by the Associated Press indicates that the Pentagon plans to send almost 4,000 additional United States troops to Afghanistan.
The AP quoted a Trump administration official on Thursday as saying that more troops would be sent and the decision could be announced as soon as next week.
According to the report, the additional troops will train and advise Afghan forces. Others would be assigned to counterterror operations against the Taliban and Daesh militants.
The administration has been considering sending additional troops for some time. Trump had reportedly been weighing a request to send 3,000 to 5,000 more U.S troops to the country to break what top generals have described as a stalemate.
On Wednesday, the U.S Defense Secretary James Mattis said in a statement that the United States “will not repeat the mistakes of the past” and in setting new troop levels, its military will have greater agility in conducting operations in Afghanistan.
“This administration will not repeat the mistakes of the past. We cannot allow Afghanistan to once again become a launching point for attacks on our homeland or on our allies,” he said.
His statement comes after Trump gave Mattis the authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan, opening the door for future troop increases.
“Yesterday afternoon (Tuesday), the president directed the Department of Defense to set troop levels in Afghanistan. This will enable our military to have greater agility to conduct operations, recognizing our military posture there is part of a broader regional context,” the statement said.
He said that thanks to the vigilance and skill of the U.S military its allies and partners, horrors on the scale of Sept. 11, 2001, have not been repeated.
Mattis said he believes that the U.S is making progress in “degrading” these groups, “but their defeat will come about only by giving our men and women on the ground the support and the authorities they need to win.”