US military considering additional 1,000 troops for Afghanistan: report

US military considering additional 1,000 troops for Afghanistan: report
© Getty Images

The U.S. Army is working on a plan that would send an additional 1,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan to boost its forces in the region, The Washington Post reported Sunday.  

The Army is preparing the proposals, which will recommend sending the extra forces this spring to join the 14,000 troops already stationed in Afghanistan, as part of broader efforts to combat the Taliban, senior military officials told the newspaper. 


Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Trump identifies first soldier remains from North Korea | New cyber strategy lets US go on offense | Army chief downplays talk of 'Fort Trump' Pompeo backed continued US support in Yemen war over objections from staff: report Stand with veterans instead of predatory for-profit colleges MORE has not signed off on the plans to bring the total force to about 15,000 troops, which many of the Army's senior leadership support, according to the report.

The proposals show a stark contrast between the Obama administration's efforts to slowly pull out of Afghanistan in 2015 and President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE's aggressive strategy to pursue radical groups in the conflict-torn region.

The number of troops in Afghanistan has risen from 8,500 to 14,000 since Trump took office. He has largely given the Pentagon the reins to deal with the issue, while emphasizing that he wants to see results.

The new forces would be part of a new combat team, the Security Force Assistance Brigade. 

“This is a concept that got accelerated for Afghanistan, and it has been quite a process,” a senior military official told the Post regarding the plan, describing the process as a "roller coaster."

A spokesman for the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson Jr., told the Post that they had not specifically asked for more troops, but indicated that new forces would likely lead to an adjustment under their current strategy instead of a new plan. 

Trump, however, has previously indicated uncertainty about sending more troops into an ongoing conflict that has not largely progressed. U.S. officials say the president may also want to have a say about the plan, according to the report.

Senior Army officials say that the new troops must bring in extra support, such as helicopters and artillery units, in order to be effective in Afghanistan. 

“If you come with nothing and you don’t provide extra firepower, aviation and [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] support, then your value is questioned,” a military official told the Post.

“It’s one thing to provide advice, but firepower is something different.”