Afghanistan is a land locked country which is beset by an insurgency drawing inspiration from Islamic scriptures. The US maintains about 8,000 troops in Afghanistan, a far cry from nearly 100,000 a year back. In addition, there are about 5,000 NATO troops in a support role. The US commander in the region General Nicholson has requested for an additional 5,000 troops to stem the tide of the advancing Taliban. General Mattis and the Pentagon have formulated a plan to augment the troop level in Afghanistan but the plan is hanging fire in the White House as the President thinks over an alternate strategy for the War In Afghanistan.

In the meantime, the US Casualties are mounting and a soldier was killed on Wednesday during operations in the Eastern region of Afghanistan.

The soldier has not been identified but it is learned that along with the dead soldier an unspecified number of Afghan and US troops have been injured. The wounded personnel have been evacuated by helicopter and are receiving treatment. This is the 11th US service member to die in battle against the Taliban and ISIS in Afghanistan. Just two weeks back two soldiers of the US 82nd airborne division were killed when their convoy was struck by a suicide car bomb. This New York Times reported this news.

Trump, Afghan war, and private contractors

President Trump in a recent meeting in the Pentagon on the Afghan war had expressed his opinion that General Nicholson was “losing” the war and should be sacked.

He castigated the generals as well as General Mattis for losing the war in Afghanistan and had hinted that he is considering other options including a complete withdrawal. This is like playing into the hands of the enemy as both Russia and the Taliban have called for a complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. One of the plans being considered by President Trump is a complete withdrawal and handing over the war to private contractors.

As things stand private contractors are there in Afghanistan and the US Central Command in a report has said that along with US troops there are 23,500 contractors working in Afghanistan of who 1,700 are armed.

Trump must decide

Trump seems to be swayed by Erik Prince, former Navy seal who has served in Afghanistan and heads a private security service called Black Water Security with private contractors.

This not acceptable to US Central Command and the defense secretary who is dismayed that the president could even think of handing over the combat role to a private contractor. The president has not yet decided and one will have to await his decision on the plan presented by General Mattis and Eric Prince proposal.

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