President Donald Trump reportedly told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani he would consider sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan in a December phone call, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Afghanistan’s security and political situation is increasingly deteriorating. After former President Barack Obama ended the U.S. combat mission in 2014, the Taliban made unprecedented gains across the country. The Afghan Security Forces the U.S. is supposed to be supporting in the fight against the Taliban are monumentally corrupt, and losing thousands of soldiers per month.
“President-elect Donald J. Trump said he would certainly continue to support Afghanistan security forces and will consider a proposal for more troops after an assessment,” an Afghan official told TheWSJ.
Trump rarely addressed the security situation in Afghanistan throughout the 2016 campaign. Days before he took office Trump told The Times of London, “I just looked at Afghanistan and you look at the Taliban – and you take a look at every, every year its more, more, more, you know they have the different colours – and you say, you know – what’s going on?”
“Afghanistan is, is not going well. Nothing’s going well — I guess we’ve been in Afghanistan almost 17 years,” he continued.
The U.S. currently has nearly 9000 troops stationed in Afghanistan, who are largely concentrated on training, advising and assisting roles. Some U.S. special forces are embeded with Afghan security forces in combat missions against the Taliban. U.S. aircraft also provide some limited aerial assistance to Afghan Security Forces.
Even if Trump sent more troops to Afghanistan, he would likely have to conduct a comprehensive review on what role these troops would serve in.