Speed Reads

afghanistan war

The Trump administration can't decide what to do about Afghanistan

With little fanfare, the Trump administration announced last week its plans to send several thousand more troops to Afghanistan to join the 8,400 already stationed in the country. Yet "the White House played down the Pentagon's vaguely worded statement, which referred only to setting 'troop levels' as a stopgap measure — a tacit admission of the administration's internal conflicts over what to do about the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan," The New York Times writes.

Experts say the addition of a few thousand more troops is not likely to end the Afghanistan war, which has now spanned three presidencies, even as "Trump ran for president saying he'd end foreign entanglements," Politico writes. Trump, though, is not calling the shots: He notably delegated the decision to his defense secretary, James Mattis.

But "it's clear that the U.S. cannot win this war militarily," Michael Kugelman of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, told The Washington Post. "The Taliban insurgency seems to strengthen by the day, the Islamic State remains resilient, public anger is building [and] Afghan troops are turning on their American trainers."

Mattis agrees the United States is "not winning," but he told the Senate Armed Services Committee "we will correct this as soon as possible." A strategy, he said, could be expected next month.