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

By Phil Stewart WASHINGTON (Reuters) - 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 U.S. 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.

Reuters July 20, 2018 00:11:53 IST
No big shifts expected from U.S. assessment of Afghan war: general

No big shifts expected from US assessment of Afghan war general

By Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - 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 U.S. 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.

U.S. 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 U.S. military advisers, trainers and special forces and increased air support for Afghan security forces. The stated U.S. 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 U.S. 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.

Votel said he had seen positive signs from Islamabad but stressed that he wanted to see Pakistan put more pressure on Pakistan-based militants fighting in Afghanistan, including by arresting, expelling or targeting them.

He also noted the key role Washington wants Islamabad to play in promoting dialogue in Afghanistan.

"We also need to see them continue to make efforts to compel the Taliban to come to the table and take advantage of these opportunities," Votel said.

The remarks come amid growing speculation about moves to open talks with the Taliban following an unprecedented three-day ceasefire during last month's Eid holiday.

Last month, Pompeo said the United States was ready to "support, facilitate and participate" in discussions with the Taliban over the role of international forces in Afghanistan but that the peace process would be Afghan-led.

The Taliban have rejected talks with the government of President Ashraf Ghani, which they see as illegitimate and instead insisted they would only talk with the United States.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by James Dalgleish)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.