08 July 2017

News Story: White House reportedly limits Pentagon on new Afghanistan troop levels

WASHINGTON, July 7 (Xinhua) -- The White House had put limits on the Pentagon's future deployment of extra U.S. troops to Afghanistan despite delegating to U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis the authority to manage troop numbers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

According to the report, the White House sent a classified memo to the Pentagon days after President Donald Trump gave Mattis unilateral authority to set new U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan last month, stipulating that Mattis could send no more than 3,900 extra U.S. troops to Afghanistan without conferring with the White House.

Mattis said in mid-June that he would soon present to the White House a new Afghanistan strategy, including setting new troop levels.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama had planned to reduce the current number of 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan to some 5,500 by the end of 2015 and withdraw all troops by the end of 2016 when his presidency came to an end.

However, given the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, the Obama administration repeatedly postponed the withdrawal.

Read the full story at Xinhua