Trump gives U.S. military authority to set Afghan troop levels: U.S. official

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 13, 2017 7:26 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump has given Defense Secretary Jim Mattis the authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan, a U.S. official told Reuters on Tuesday, opening the door for future troop increases requested by the U.S. commander.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that no immediate decision had been made about the troop levels themselves, which are now set at about 8,400.

The decision is similar to one announced in April that applied to U.S. troop levels in Iraq and Syria, and came as Mattis warned Congress that the U.S.-backed Afghan forces were not beating the Taliban despite more than 15 years of war.

The Pentagon declined to comment.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)