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James Mattis Gets Authority From Trump to Oversee US Troop Levels in Afghanistan

James Mattis

Defense Secretary James Mattis has said he has been authorized by President Donald Trump to manage the number of soldiers deployed to Afghanistan, DoD News reported Wednesday.

“The American military effort in Afghanistan must be viewed as part of a larger regional context in South Asia,” Mattis said at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subpanel Wednesday.

“Our primary national interest and the international interest in Afghanistan is ensuring it does not become an ungoverned space from which attacks can be launched against the United States, other nations or the Afghan people,” he added.

Mattis, an inductee into Executive Mosaic’s Wash100 for 2017, said in a statement released Wednesday the authority delegated to him by Trump seeks to strengthen the U.S. military’s agility to perform operations and “does not in itself change the force levels for Afghanistan.”

He also told lawmakers that the U.S. forces have been training Afghan troops through collaboration with NATO’s Resolute Support mission and carried partnered counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan, where approximately 13,000 U.S. and coalition forces are currently stationed.

 

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