American senior and foreigner policy advisers are reportedly proposing urging President Donald Trump to boost the U.S. military footprint in Afghanistan by at least 3,000 troops to force the resilient and resurgent Taliban to negotiate peace with the Afghan government.
“Inside the White House, those opposed to the plan have begun to refer derisively to the strategy as ‘McMaster’s War,’ a reference to H.R. McMaster, the president’s national security adviser,” reports the Washington Post (WaPo). “The general, who once led anti-corruption efforts in Afghanistan and was one of the architects of President George W. Bush’s troop surge in Iraq, is the driving force behind the new strategy at the White House.”
Critics of the plan say that former President Barack Obama’s surge, which raised the number of American forces to an all-time high since the war started of 100,000, failed to convince the Taliban to negotiate, it is unlikely a much lower number of American troops will be able to do so.
The Washington Post reports:
The new strategy, which has the backing of top Cabinet officials, would authorize the Pentagon, not the White House, to set troop numbers in Afghanistan and give the military far broader authority to use airstrikes to target. It would also lift Obama-era restrictions that limited the mobility of U.S. military advisers on the battlefield.
Under former President Barack Obama, U.S. troops were only able to attack the Taliban from a point of a defense. American troops had to essentially wait to be shot at first.
President Trump has reportedly eased up the stringent rules of engagement, granting commanders on the ground more freedom to make decisions on their own.
Trump is expected to make a final decision on the proposed strategy before the May 25 NATO summit in Brussels that he plans to attend.
The new proposal calls for increasing American troops by at least 3,000, providing a boost the estimated 8,400 already there. NATO is also expected to deploy more forces
One of the primary conditions the Taliban has set to engage in peace talks is the complete withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces, which has been a non-starter so far.
Moreover, the Taliban jihadists have refused to engage in peace negotiations because they believe they are winning the war, particularly now that they have skyrocketing opium production to fund their terrorist operations and are receiving support from Russia, Iran, and Pakistan.
Citing U.S officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, WaPo says:
The new plan, which still needs the approval of the president, calls for expanding the U.S. military role as part of a broader effort to push an increasingly confident and resurgent Taliban back to the negotiating table, U.S. officials said.
The plan comes at the end of a sweeping policy review built around the president’s desire to reverse worsening security in Afghanistan and “start winning” again, said one U.S. official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
This year, Gen. John Nicholson, the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, told lawmakers the Afghanistan war was at a “stalemate.”
The Taliban continues to conquer territory — it controls more than at any time since it was overthrown by U.S. troop since 2001.