FOREVER WAR: ‘Dozens’ More US Marines Headed To Afghanistan
Dozens more U.S. Marines are headed to Afghanistan to help provide increase force protection for troops stationed in the southern part of the country, NBCNews reported Monday.
The additional deployment highlights the danger to the nearly 300 U.S. Marines stationed in Helmand Province, a historic sanctuary for the Taliban. Helmand Province has been a frontline for the battle between the U.S-backed Afghan National Security and the Taliban militants since the end of the U.S. combat mission in 2015.
The faltering security situation in Helmand Province is part of a broader trend of Taliban gains since 2015. The Taliban now controls approximately 40 percent of the entire country of Afghanistan and one-third of the population. Afghan civilian casualties are also at a 16-year high in the war as a result of Taliban improvised explosive devices.
U.S. military commanders admit that any surge in U.S. troops will need to be sustained for years to come in order to build up the Afghan National Security Force’s indigenous capabilities.
President Donald Trump is, however, deeply skeptical of increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan in the midst of a heated debate within the White House. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster is reportedly pushing Trump to approve a comprehensive plan to increase troops in Afghanistan and confront terrorist safe havens in Pakistan.
White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is conversely pushing Trump to pull troops out of the country, or at the very least forestall the surge citing the large costs of the Afghan war with little to show for it. The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction noted July 30 that the U.S. spent approximately $700 billion in 2016.
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