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James Mattis Discloses Changes to Rules of Engagement in Afghanistan at Senate Hearing

James Mattis

Defense Secretary James Mattis has said he has been authorized by the White House to reassess and change the rules of engagement in Afghanistan to help expedite the campaign against the Taliban group, Defense News reported Tuesday.

Mattis told Senate Armed Services Committee members during a hearing Tuesday that some of the changes he has implemented include the dispersal of U.S. and allied advisers among Afghan units and the removal of proximity requirements for launching air strikes against Taliban forces.

“You see some of the results of releasing our military from, for example, a proximity requirement — how close was the enemy to the Afghan or the U.S.-advised special forces,” Mattis said.

“So these kind of restrictions that did not allow us to employ the airpower fully have been removed, yes.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), SASC chairman, said Tuesday he is delaying the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominees for civilian posts at DoD due to the administration’s failure to inform Congress about the details of its Afghanistan strategy, according to The Hill citing a Defense News report.

In an Aug. 21 announcement of his Afghanistan strategy, Trump said he would send 3,000 additional U.S. warfighters to the country to help train Afghan troops to carry out counterterrorism efforts.

“In the six weeks since the president made his announcement, this committee and the Congress, more broadly, still does not know many of the crucial details of this strategy,” McCain said at the Senate hearing.

“We expect — indeed, we require — a regular flow of detailed information about this war,” he added.

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