- Associated Press - Sunday, February 19, 2017

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says he will make some decisions soon on whether to recommend an increase in the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and whether the totals should be based on military requirements rather than pre-set limits.

Mattis says he spoke by video conference for several hours on Sunday with the top commander in Afghanistan, U.S. Gen. John Nicholson. The Pentagon chief says he will collect his thoughts and then send recommendations to the White House. He says President Donald Trump is open to his advice.

Earlier this month, Nicholson told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he needs a few thousand more troops to train and advise Afghan forces.

Mattis was scheduled to fly into Afghanistan on Sunday, but said bad weather prevented the trip.

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