General: No big shifts expected from U.S. assessment of Afghan war

By REUTERS
July 19, 2018 19:17
1 minute read.
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WASHINGTON - The United States is unlikely to make any big shift in military strategy as a result of an ongoing assessment of the war effort in Afghanistan, the top US general overseeing forces in the region said on Thursday.

Reuters reported on July 10 that the United States was preparing to undertake a strategy review, a year after President Donald Trump begrudgingly agreed to extend America's involvement in the conflict.

US Army General Joseph Votel portrayed it more as a regular assessment than a wholesale review and suggested that he expected it would confirm progress, however uneven, in the nearly 17-year-old war.

"I don't envision something ... that would likely lead to a major change in the overall strategy, which I believe is showing progress," Votel told a news briefing.

Officials said Trump has shown signs of frustration over the lack of progress since he unveiled a strategy last August that committed to an open-ended deployment of US military advisers, trainers and special forces and increased air support for Afghan security forces. The stated US goal is to push the Taliban militants to work toward a peace agreement with the Kabul government.

Trump was opposed to remaining in America's longest war, but was convinced by his advisers to press ahead. He authorized last year the deployment of an additional 3,000 US troops, bringing the total to around 15,000.

Trump has also piled pressure on neighboring Pakistan to crack down on militant safe havens on its side of the Afghan-Pakistan border.

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