Obama to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan
The Obama administration is planning to send an additional 2,500 troops to Iraq to help train and advise Afghan forces to combat the Islamic State group and other terrorist groups, according to an administration official.
The move comes amid escalating tensions in the Middle East.
The Obama administration’s plan, first reported by The New York Times, comes amid mounting tensions between President Donald Trump and the military leadership.
Trump has criticized the Pentagon for a lack of support for the Afghan National Army and has accused the president of trying to turn the war into a “sovereign war.”
Trump also said last week that the United States has no plans to extend military support to the Afghan government in the wake of its victory over the Taliban, which has taken over much of the country.
Trump and other members of the administration have expressed deep concerns about the military’s ability to fight the Islamic Republic of Iran-backed Taliban.
Obama has sought to boost troop deployments in Afghanistan by more than half since taking office in 2009.
The military is set to be the largest troop presence in the region, with nearly 6,800 troops deployed to the country as of January, according a January report by the Pentagon’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget.
Despite Trump’s criticisms, the administration has sought a new military strategy in Afghanistan, which the administration sees as vital to deterring future terrorist attacks.
A senior administration official told The Associated Press that the Obama administration intends to send more than 2,000 more troops.
“As we look to our future in Afghanistan as we have in the past, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Canada and the European Union have already deployed additional forces and have also deployed additional advisors and trainers,” the official said.
“The U.S. is working with partners to build a robust coalition to confront ISIL.”