- The Washington Times - Friday, June 16, 2017

The Pentagon is pushing back against reports that Defense Secretary James Mattis has recommended sending in thousands more U.S. forces into Afghanistan.

“Secretary Mattis has made no decisions on a troop increase for Afghanistan,” Pentagon press secretary Dana White said in a statement Friday, adding the yet to be released Afghan war plan would reach the White House in the next few weeks.

Her statement came a day after recent reports claimed that Mr. Mattis had recommended President Trump send 4,000 more U.S. forces into the country. Currently 8,400 American troops are in Afghanistan, training and advising local security forces.

On Thursday, Mr. Mattis said the administration’s plan for Afghanistan will likely take a wider view of the ongoing conflict, focusing on the regional implications of any U.S. escalation in the country.

Testifying before the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, the former four-star general said Washington’s war policy for Afghanistan and its impact could no longer be limited to within the country’s borders.

“We’re going to have to look at a more regional strategy, one that takes into account Afghanistan as part of South Asia, not looks at it in isolation,” Mr. Mattis said. “It’s going to have to be one that marries itself to reality and the current level of support” already being provided by American and NATO troops, as well as the current capabilities of the country’s police and military, he added.

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