The U.S has said it will deal with the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan from a regional perspective in its new strategy for Afghanistan, said U.S Defense Secretary James Mattis, as the insurgency in the country shows no signs of abating.
According to Mattis, Washington’s new strategy will also involve Afghanistan’s neighbors such as Iran, Pakistan and India.
He said that U.S President Donald Trump will be briefed about the new strategy in the near future.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon has announced that it plans to deliver at least 53 Blackhawk helicopters to Afghan forces during the current year – this makes up part of the total of 159 helicopters pledged over a four year period.
Sixteen years ago, the U.S-led coalition intervened in Afghanistan in the hope of eradicating terrorism in the country, but Washington’s campaign against terror has turned into one of the U.S’s longest wars and the situation in Afghanistan remains complicated.
“We are looking at everything from the situation in India and Pakistan, and Afghanistan, obviously Iran that whole south Asia area. Because if we look at that in isolation, we would probably have something that is lacking in some area. We are going to have to recognize the problems that come out of ungoverned spaces like that as we experienced on 9/11,” Mattis said.
It is believed that under the new strategy, the U.S could deploy an additional 3,000 to 5,000 troops in Afghanistan while foreign forces could be given more power in their campaign against the Taliban on the battlefields.
“The options will include, it is not just about numbers of troops, it is about authorities, it is about other things we can do diplomatically and economically as well,” said U.S chief of army staff general Joseph Dunford.
“The problem of Afghanistan is not an internal problem, there is a need to resolve the problem from a regional platform, there is a need to focus on the terrorists who are nourished and supported outside,” said deputy CEO spokesman Jawed Faisal.
However, Mattis said corruption continues to remain a major obstruction in the way of the U.S mission in Afghanistan.
“They recognized the problem there, they recognized that something has got to be done about it, this is a critical problem, I might say this is the biggest strategic problem – facing corruption and we will be dealing with it, President (Ashraf) Ghani has got a … program to deal with it and we will do our best to address it,” added Mattis.
The U.S has also pledged $814 million USD to boost the capacity of the Afghan security forces.