Sunday, 17 December, 2017

Afghanistan pull-out would be 'to our ultimate peril': James Mattis

Paratroopers with 1st Brigade Combat Team 82nd Airborne Division fire at insurgent forces during a firefight Mattis and Dunford brief Congress on security picture in Afghanistan, South Asia
Erik Tate | 04 October, 2017, 00:25

The United States will soon decide whether to keep open a Taliban office in Qatar as America steps up its Afghan war effort, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Tuesday, adding he was looking at who represents the increasingly fractious insurgency.

President Donald Trump's top military adviser just openly contradicted Trump's position on the Iran nuclear deal while testifying in front of Congress, adding to the growing number of prominent officials who have publicly disagreed with the president's belief that the Iran deal is bad for the USA and should be canceled or renegotiated.

Dunford told the committee that it's clear to him that Pakistan's intelligence service has connections to the terrorist groups.

Mattis was purposefully unclear on how many more USA troops would deploy to Afghanistan - and when - saying "more than 3,000" would bolster the 11,000 now on the ground "in the coming months", although senators on the committee said the number would be about 3,500.

But Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen.

The nation's top military officer says the thousands of additional US troops President Donald Trump has ordered to Afghanistan will cost just over $1 billion a year.

Morata joined Chelsea because of Conte's belief in him
Don't forget, every coach tries every day to take more information, new ideas, and then try to elaborate with your style, no? It's important to understand when there is the room to travel, to go to see a game or for other situations.

"We want to be your partners", McCain said. We must be well-informed. The additional troops will augment the roughly 8,400 Americans now stationed there.

After the hearing, McCain told reporters that his committee will refuse to confirm any Trump nominees to the Pentagon until he receives more information about the administration's strategy in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

On Friday, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged Europe to defy United States sanctions if Trump's administration abandons the JCPOA.

Trump faces an October 15 deadline set by Congress to certify that Iran is complying with the nuclear accord, and that the continued suspension of sanctions is in the national security interest. Mattis said the new deployments will enable the NATO-led mission to reinforce training and advisory support at the battalion and brigade levels and to provide them with enhanced coalition air support. Denying certification could lead the U.S.to reintroduce sanctions, which in turn could lead Iran to walk away from the deal or restart previously curtailed nuclear activities. McCain says the Trump administration has failed to inform Congress of the details of the strategy spelled out by Trump. Mattis and Dunford said that broadly, that will require the United States to build more support internationally to sway Pakistan from doing so.

When asked by a lawmaker whether revoking of Pakistan's major non-NATO ally was amongst the options being considered to deal with Islamabad, Mattis said: "I am sure it will be".

Asked to answer "yes" or "no" whether it was in the U.S. national security interest to remain in the deal, Mattis, a career hawk on Iran, answered bluntly: "Yes, I do".

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