THE PENTAGON — The Defense Department has unveiled its long-awaited strategy for turning the tide in Afghanistan this week, which calls for up to 460,000 additional US Army advisors to deploy to the region, sources confirmed today.
In what is being called a new "surge" following President Obama's deployment of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in 2009, the Pentagon is presenting President Trump with a similar strategy of deploying a huge number of US troops with no clear goals or end state into a country mired in corruption and plagued by a lack of central government control.
"It's an absolute honor to deploy to Afghanistan since this war is so important to the American people," one Army specialist told reporters of the conflict, which received barely a mention on the 2016 campaign trail.
Though the new plan calls for hundreds of thousands of troops from across the active-duty Army to deploy to Afghanistan, officials have insisted that soldiers will not be engaged in direct combat. To demonstrate this, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has issued a DoD-wide memorandum warning troops that they are not allowed to engage in direct combat while they are being bombed, shot at, or otherwise attacked by Taliban forces.
The move to embed additional advisors with Afghan National Army and police forces comes at a time when Gen. John Nicholson, the US commander of forces in Afghanistan, has characterized the non-war Afghan war as a "stalemate."
In his request for a "few thousand" more troops, Nicholson said that he was confident the US could train the ANA it had been training since late 2002 to the point that Afghan soldiers would be less reliant on NATO.
"Afghanistan is kind of like a teenager," Nicholson said of the nearly 16-year-old war. "Soon it will be getting its driver's license and then promptly crashing its car into a ditch."