KABUL: Around 3,000 more US troops could be sent to Afghanistan to stem a spike in insurgent-related violence, international media reports said on Tuesday.
Under the proposals from the Pentagon and State Department, military commanders might be empowered again to hit Taliban leaders with air strikes, the BBC reported.
The plan, including a request that other NATO members send 3,000-5,000 soldiers, is yet to be approved by President Donald Trump. The combat role for US troops could be significantly ramped up.
The US is expected to boost its troop presence in Afghanistan by 3,000 as part of Trump’s strategy to defeat the Taliban and Islamic State. The White House has called the new plan a winning strategy.
“The new strategy would also lift Obama-era restrictions that limited the mobility of US military advisers on the battlefield,” The Washington Post quoted unnamed officials as saying.
It added the US troop surge and aid to Afghanistan would be conditioned upon the efforts of the Ghani administration to fight against corruption and improve governance.
According to CNN, both US National Security Advisor McMaster and Defence Secretary James Mattis are supportive of the troop increase.
On Monday, Mattis confirmed a decision could be expected “very, very shortly” on expanding the US troop presence in Afghanistan.
Mattis, who visited Kabul last month, told journalists accompanying him on a trip to Denmark: “We’ll take that decision forward very, very shortly.”