Signaling that the US military expects its mission to continue, the top US commander in Afghanistan on Sunday hailed the launch of the Afghan Army's new special operations corps, declaring that "we are with you and we will stay with you." Gen. John Nicholson's exhortation of continued support for the Afghans suggested the Pentagon may have won its argument that America's military must stay engaged in the conflict in order to insure terrorists don't once again threaten the US from safe havens in Afghanistan. The White House announced that President Donald Trump would address the nation's troops and the American people Monday night to update the path forward in Afghanistan and South Asia. Nicholson said the commandos and a plan to double the size of the Afghan's special operations forces are critical to winning the war.
The Pentagon was awaiting a final announcement by Trump on a proposal to send nearly 4,000 more US troops to Afghanistan, reports the AP. The added forces would increase training and advising of the Afghan forces and bolster counterterrorism operations against the Taliban and an Islamic State group affiliate trying to gain a foothold in the country. The administration has been at odds for months over how to craft a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan amid frustrations that 16 years after 9/11 the conflict is stalemated. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he is satisfied with how the administration formulated its new Afghanistan war strategy. But he refused to talk about the new policy until it was disclosed by Trump. "I am very comfortable that the strategic process was sufficiently rigorous," Mattis said. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)