US President Donald Trump has not yet made a decision on whether to send additional American troops to Afghanistan, according to an administration official. “The President wants to hear from our allies as well,” said National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster at a White House on Friday briefing on Trump’s upcoming trip to the Middle East and Europe.
He added that Trump will discuss the issue with allies at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) summit in Brussels and Group 7 (G7) meeting in Sicily, Italy, later this month, Xinhua news agency reported. US media reported earlier that Trump would decide as soon as this weekend on whether or not to send hundreds of additional American troops to Afghanistan.
Former President Barack Obama had planned to reduce the current number of 9,800 US troops in Afghanistan to some 5,500 by the end of 2015 and withdraw all troops by the end of 2016 when his presidency came to an end.
However, given the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, the Obama administration repeatedly postponed the withdrawal. US National Intelligence Director Dan Coats warned on Thursday that the situation in Afghanistan would most likely deteriorate in the future even if the US and its allies offer more military aid.
“The intelligence community assesses that the political and security situation in Afghanistan will almost certainly deteriorate through 2018 even with a modest increase in military assistance by the United States and its partners,” said Coats at a Senate hearing.
Currently, there are about 8,400 U.S. troops and another 5,000 NATO forces on the ground in Afghanistan to train and assist Afghan forces against the Taliban and conduct counter-terrorism missions.