Defense leaders brief Trump on Afghanistan, ISIS fight at Pentagon

Defense leaders brief Trump on Afghanistan, ISIS fight at Pentagon
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President Trump on Thursday met with his national security team in a more than two-hour-long Pentagon briefing that touched on Afghanistan and the fight against the Islamic State and Iraq and Syria.

Trump — who met with Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford — said "we'll see," when asked prior to the meeting if he was planning on sending more troops to Afghanistan.

He then added, "We're doing very well against ISIS. ISIS is falling fast. Very fast.”

The president arrived at the Pentagon along with Vice President Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. His son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner also attended.


White House press secretary Sean Spicer, a Naval reservist, and aide Keith Schiller were on hand to watch. Spicer had told reporters Tuesday that the discussion would include ISIS and other topics.

Trump called the huddle “very good,” after he emerged, praising the Pentagon personnel for doing great work.

When asked about an announcement on troop levels in Afghanistan, Trump said, “you'll be hearing,” but did not elaborate. He also ignored a question about Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThose predicting Facebook's demise are blowing smoke If bitcoin is 'digital gold,' it should be taxed like gold The metaverse is coming — society should be wary MORE.

The Defense Department for several months has been working on a new strategy for the 16-year conflict in Afghanistan. Mattis is expected to authorize an additional 4,000 troops to be sent to the country — an authority Trump gave him last month.

The defense chief on Wednesday briefed the full Senate on the current fight against ISIS, but the meeting did not include the new strategy for Afghanistan Mattis had promised would come this month. 

About 8,400 U.S. troops are currently stationed in Afghanistan in a train-and-assist capacity.