More US Troops Might Not Be Needed in Afghanistan

Sunday, 23 Jul, 2017

There was about $50 million remaining in the funds, which will now be repurposed the Pentagon said.

Adam Stump, a Pentagon spokesman, said the $50 million could not be released now because Mattis "could not certify that Pakistan has taken sufficient action against the Haqqani Network per the requirement in the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act". Pakistan has been reimbursed $550 million of the $900 million the country was authorised to receive in fiscal year 2016.

Trump's first visit to the Pentagon came in his first week in office in late January when he met with Mattis and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the secure conference room called "The Tank".

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has informed Congress that the U.S. is withholding $50 million in funding from Pakistan because he was unable to certify that Islamabad "has taken sufficient action against the Haqqani Network", a branch of the Afghan Taliban.

The meeting did not focus on troop levels in Afghanistan, but a broader view of the region and the US strategy regarding Pakistan, which has provided a haven for the Taliban, the Post reported.

Talking to The News, Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said that Pakistan's counter-terrorism success is well-known fact.

Trump has granted the Pentagon the authority to decide how many additional troops to deploy to the war-ravaged country.

The defense secretary is believed to be close to authorizing up to an additional 5,000 new troops to Afghanistan, which would be a significant increase from the current level of almost 8,400 USA troops.

Polish lawmakers set to back judicial overhaul, defying protests, EU
The bill on the Supreme Court. "Poland's president should be concerned about a situation that is, let's say, serious", Tusk said. The head of state has 21 days to sign the document, veto it, or, if in doubt, submit it to the constitutional court.

Trump has rarely commented publicly on Afghanistan, the longest war in USA history, but this week he did while meeting with servicemembers who have served there.

The Haqqani network is apparently responsible for attacks on US forces, and also Indian forces, in Afghanistan.

Following the report, Pakistan officials vigorously objected and said they have conducted extensive operations against terror groups in tribal areas.

Pakistan has decried the report, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria saying Thursday that Pakistan has "taken indiscriminate and all out action against terrorists".

"Pakistan's efforts have reduced the ability of some militant groups to use North Waziristan and the FATA as a safe haven for terrorism", he said.

Afghanistan, on the other hand, is looking to the US leader to get tough on Pakistan, which Afghan officials have repeatedly accused of supporting the Taliban. The Pentagon said that $300 million, however, had already been withheld and redistributed, meaning that there are no more of the funds available to Pakistan from its 2016 allotment.

However, Mattis also said that Pakistan still has time to influence the secretary's certification decision in FY17 by taking action against the Haqqani network.