White House will send additional troops to Afghanistan; McCain offers long-term strategy

To fulfill a request from Marine General Roger Turner, the White House has agreed to the deployment of dozens of additional Marines to Afghanistan.

According to NBC News, the small detachment will be sent to Helmand Province in southwest Afghanistan and will be tasked with internal force protection.  The new troops with be attached to Task Force Southwest and will join over 300 Marines already stationed there.

A spokesperson for Marine Corps Forces Central Command declined to comment on the report of additional troops sent to the region.

The emergence of the deployment of extra Marines arrives at the same time Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) offers a plan to assist Afghan security forces and grow anti-terror operations in the area.

“Nearly seven months into President Trump’s administration, we’ve had no strategy at all as conditions on the ground have steadily worsened.  The thousands of Americans putting their lives on the line in Afghanistan deserve better from their commander in chief,” McCain said.

Under McCain’s plan, U.S. troop levels would be increased and Obama-era engagement restrictions would be relaxed.  Similarly, McCain has suggested the U.S. commit to a “long-term, open-ended” strategy in which the U.S. sustains a troop presence in Afghanistan to combat terror.

McCain’s plan also calls for expanding training to enable Afghan security forces to assume responsibility for defending the country from Taliban and associated terror groups.

Additionally, McCain, who is chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said diplomatic efforts to punish Pakistan are needed.  Pakistan is known to support Taliban forces operating in Afghanistan.

The U.S. currently maintains 8,400 troops in Afghanistan.

 

[NBC News] [AP] [Photo courtesy Getty Images via CNN]