The United States is determined to increase its troops  in Afghanistan. US Defense Secretary James Mattis announced  this after a speech by President Donald Trump in Washington on Monday. According to a White House official, President Trump has given the green light for the sending  of nearly 4,000 US troops to Afghanistan. Mattis immediately ordered Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to prepare for troop deployment and consult with the NATO Secretary General.

Currently in Afghanistan there are more than 8 thousand US soldiers and 5 thousand NATO troops. They are to provide support to Afghan security forces against the Taliban and other militant groups. Even so the situation in Afghanistan is still not conducive. There were  at least 2 thousand 5 hundred police and soldiers killed during the first 5 months of 2017.

Despite intending to increase the number of troops, President Trump in his speech, also gave space for a political deal with the Taliban. In addition to military efforts it seems a political settlement with the Taliban in Afghanistan is also to be sought. Trump had previously said the United States will support the Afghan government and military against the Taliban that has caused conflict for sixteen years.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson welcomed President Trump's efforts by putting pressure on Pakistan to step up its military operations. This is to provide support for US diplomats in seeking  political solutions. The US strategy according to Tillerson is more flexible without setting a deadline.

President Trump’s  plan gets opposition from the Taliban, who once ruled Afghanistan from  1996 to 2001. In an open letter last week (15/8), the Taliban, in addition to criticizing the US, also criticized the Afghan government. The group asked  Trump not to  increase troops and even to withdraw them  from the conflict zone.  Earlier this year the Taliban also issued an open letter calling for the US to end the war in Afghanistan.`

Prolonged conflict in Afghanistan that cost money and claimed  the lives of both soldiers and civilians is hoped  to end soon. Meanwhile, President Trump's plan would not immediately end the war. This is because the military option is still more precedence than the option of diplomatic negotiations. Keep in mind, though the American military in Afghanistan once   numbering  tens of thousands, yet,  conflict persists. On the other hand, the Taliban, despite its struggle on its own land, should prioritize negotiations through political channels rather than the military. So  that peace in Afghanistan can materialize.


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