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Feb 20, 2017
Decision on troop levels in Afghanistan soon: Mattis
Feb 20, 2017 - 10:12
Jim Mattis told reporters accompanying him to Abu Dhabi he would submit his recommendations to President Donald Trump on whether to raise the number of soldiers in the war-torn country.
President Trump -- awaiting a proposal from military commander on the ground in Afghanistan -- had justly been quiet on the issue, the secretary was quoted as saying by international media outlets.
According to the Military Times, the secretary said: "We are putting our thoughts together now. It shouldn't take too long.” He added the president "is open to my advice on it, but first of all I've got to formulate where I stand, so this is the normal collection of... information."
On Sunday, the secretary said he spoke for hours by video conference with top NATO/US commander General John Nicholson on the situation in Afghanistan. Nicholson has sought a few thousand more troops.
Mattis added that his call with the commander and a meeting in Munich with President Ashraf Ghani in Germany were aimed to get a clear picture of the situation in Afghanistan.
Currently, 8,400 US troops are stationed in Afghanistan, training the Afghan security forces and fighting against the insurgents. But Nicholson wants the number to be increased by s few thousand.
Before deciding on the troop levels, President Trump would consult his defense secretary on reinforcements, according to his White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
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