World Votel: More US advisers will help break Afghan war stalemate

07:45  13 october  2017
07:45  13 october  2017 Source:   Associated Press

US relaxes rules of engagement to help troops in Afghanistan defeat Taliban

  US relaxes rules of engagement to help troops in Afghanistan defeat Taliban The U.S. military has overturned a requirement for its troops to be in contact with enemy forces in Afghanistan before opening fire in a bid to relax the rules of engagement and defeat the Taliban. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis approved the change following President Donald Trump’s pledge in August, during a policy speech on Afghanistan, to “lift restrictions and expand authorities” regarding U.S. operations in the central Asian nation.”We will also expand authorities for American armed forces to target the terrorists and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan,” Trump said at the time.

TAMPA, Fla. — U . S . military troops in Afghanistan have begun working with smaller Afghan units to prepare them for a more aggressive offensive against the Taliban next year in a push to break the stalemate in the 16-year-old war , the top U . S . commander for the Middle East said Thursday.

Why are we asking this? We collect zip code so that we may deliver news, weather, special offers and other content related to your specific geographic area. Joseph Votel says there is still much more work to be done to improve Afghan forces.

FILE - In this April 11, 2017, file photo, Gen. Joseph Votel speaks during a news conference with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the Pentagon. Votel, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East says American troops in Afghanistan have begun working with smaller Afghan units to prepare them for a more aggressive offensive against the Taliban next year in a push to break the stalemate in the 16-year-old war. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)© The Associated Press FILE - In this April 11, 2017, file photo, Gen. Joseph Votel speaks during a news conference with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the Pentagon. Votel, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East says American troops in Afghanistan have begun working with smaller Afghan units to prepare them for a more aggressive offensive against the Taliban next year in a push to break the stalemate in the 16-year-old war. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

TAMPA, Fla. — U.S. military troops in Afghanistan have begun working with smaller Afghan units to prepare them for a more aggressive offensive against the Taliban next year in a push to break the stalemate in the 16-year-old war, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East said Thursday.

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TAMPA, Fla. — The top U . S . commander for the Middle East says American troops in Afghanistan have begun working with smaller Afghan units to prepare them for a more aggressive offensive against the Taliban next year in a push to break the stalemate in the 16-year-old war . Army Gen.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — U . S . military troops in Afghanistan have begun working with smaller Afghan units to prepare them for a more aggressive offensive against the Taliban next year in a push to break the stalemate in the 16-year-old war , the top U . S . commander for the Middle East said Thursday.

While acknowledging there is still much more to be done, Army Gen. Joseph Votel sounded a more optimistic tone, saying he is seeing some positive trends in the Afghan's fight.

As more older Afghan commanders leave or are pushed out of their posts, younger leaders are taking over, he said, adding that the forces are conducting more operations and going on the offensive more often. As a result, he said, officials are seeing the number of casualties start to go down.

"I think we're still very keen to break the stalemate and that's what this effort is about here," Votel told reporters at his U.S Central Command headquarters. "I'm not declaring victory here with this - but I think some of the steps we've taken ... are positive steps that are moving us in that direction to break the stalemate."

Afghan air force gets its own Black Hawk choppers

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - U . S . military troops in Afghanistan have begun working with smaller Afghan units to prepare them for a more aggressive offensive against the Taliban next year in a push to break the stalemate in the 16-year-old war , the top U . S . commander for the Middle East said Thursday.

"I think we 're still very keen to break the stalemate and that's what this effort is about here," Votel told reporters at his U . S Central Command headquarters. Votel said the advisers will help those Afghan units get ready for next year's fighting season.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress last week that he still considers the war a stalemate. But he and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis assured lawmakers that the plan to increase U.S. forces in Afghanistan and beef up military support to the Afghan units will pay off.

Congress members, however, have expressed skepticism and frustration with the Pentagon, and complained that they haven't gotten enough information on the administration's new strategy for winning the war in Afghanistan and bringing greater stability to the broader region.

President Donald Trump in August approved a Pentagon plan to deploy as many as 3,800 additional U.S. forces to Afghanistan, where there are already more than 11,000 serving. The additional American forces will be used to increase efforts to advise and assist Afghanistan's forces, including putting advisers with smaller Afghan battalions, which they call Kandaks. Doing so puts American troops closer to the fight, but military leaders say it will allow them to better help the Afghans improve their ability to fight insurgents.

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The top U . S . commander for the Middle East says American troops in Afghanistan have begun working with smaller Afghan units to prepare them for a more aggressive offensive against the Taliban next year in a push to break the stalemate in the 16-year-old war .

TAMPA, Fla. — U . S . military troops in Afghanistan have begun working with smaller Afghan units to prepare them for a more aggressive offensive against the Taliban next year in a push to break the stalemate in the 16-year-old war , the top U . S . commander for the Middle East said Thursday.

Votel said the advisers will help those Afghan units get ready for next year's fighting season.

The U.S. troops would also be used to beef up U.S. counterterrorism operations against al-Qaida and a growing Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan, as well as the Taliban and other extremist groups.

The added American troops have already started moving into Afghanistan, including a significant number of Army soldiers and some Air Force personnel who went in with an extra six F-16 fighter jets. The Pentagon, however, has repeatedly refused to even provide estimates of how many of the additional troops have deployed, despite promises that the department will be more transparent with the American people about how many U.S. service members are serving there, in harm's way.

Mattis told reporters traveling with him on Wednesday that more than a dozen NATO allies have agreed to boost their commitments to Afghanistan, although some may just be a symbolic increase.

The Taliban, meanwhile, continues to be a resilient enemy, launching a series of high profile attacks — including a recent rocket assault at the airport in Kabul while Mattis was on the ground in the country.

Mattis and other senior leaders say they need to increase the military effort in the country in order to force the Taliban to the negotiating table where they can get a political resolution to the war. On Thursday, Votel said he is hopeful and believes that peace talks are possible.

Afghan army trainees killed in Kabul suicide attack: defence ministry .
A suicide bomber killed 15 Afghan army trainees as they were leaving their base in Kabul on Saturday, the defence ministry said, in the latest deadly attack in the capital. "This afternoon when a minibus carrying army cadets was coming out of the military academy, a suicide bomber on foot targeted them, martyring 15 and wounding four," defence ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri told AFP.Kabul Crime Branch chief General Mohammad Salim Almas said police have launched an investigation into the attack which happened in the west of the city.

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