The Pentagon may send up to 5,000 more troops to Afghanistan

The Pentagon is considering sending between 3,000 to 5,000 additional troops to Afghanistan to advise Afghan military and police units fighting the Taliban, as well as an unspecified number of special operations forces to fight ISIS and al-Qaida militants along the Pakistani border.

A senior Afghan defence official also told the Military Times that NATO was considering deploying up to 13,000 troops into the country.

In February, Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, told Congress that thousands of more troops were needed in part because outside powers have increased their meddling in Afghanistan in the last year, making it tougher for the US-backed government in Kabul to quell the violence.

The war in Afghanistan, the longest in American history, was characterised by Nicholson as a
stalemate in February.

The situation is far from a stalemate, however. The Institute for the Study of War’s latest assessment released in February shows the situation on the ground deteriorating. Of roughly 400 districts in Afghanistan, the Taliban controls, contests, or influences 171 of them, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

Multiple reports have recently surfaced that Russia has been supplying the Taliban with weapons on the pretext that the Taliban is fighting ISIS, despite others reports that the two factions had forged an alliance.

More than 140 Afghan soldiers were killed on April 22 when the Taliban infiltrated a military base in Mazar-i-Sharif. Two US Army Rangers were also killed, possibly by friendly fire, last week during a raid on an ISIS compound.

The Trump administration could make the decision in the next few weeks, possibly announcing it at the NATO security summit in Brussels on May 25.

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