USA is losing in Afghanistan, says Pentagon chief

Chip Somodevilla  Getty Images

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Further exacerbating the situation are four external forces acting on the military, he added, the first being the fact that the USA military has been at war for the last 16 years. Mattis acknowledged that he believed the Taliban were "surging" at the moment, something he said he meant to address.

"We are not winning in Afghanistan right now, and we will correct this as soon as possible", the defense secretary added.

In some cases, Afghan security forces have been forced to abandon more scattered and rural bases, and the government can claim to control or influence only 57% of the country, according to United States military estimates earlier this year.

Russia, China and Iran field a wide range of cyber, space, aviation, maritime and land capabilities specifically created to limit USA military's ability to deploy, employ and sustain forces, the general said. Noting that the Trump budget plan already requires busting the caps imposed by the Budget Control Act, McCain, who has called for Pentagon funding in the realm of $640 billion, made his position clear: "If we're gonna bust the BCA, why not bust it to what we need it to be?"

The former Marine Corps general said that "we recognize the need for urgency".

"Despite the tremendous efforts of this committee, Congress as a whole has met the present challenge with lassitude, not leadership", Mattis said Monday in front of the House Armed Services Committee.

"We are taking a regional approach to this", Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee.

Three U.S. soldiers were killed and another wounded Saturday when they were attacked by an Afghan soldier, who was then killed.

The Arizona senator noted the last administration's plan in Afghanistan was simply "don't lose", which McCain said has not worked. We still haven't got a strategy for Afghanistan.

Army Sgts. Eric Houck and William Bays, along with Col. Dillon Baldridge attached to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division were gunned down in the latest "green on blue" incident carried out by Afghan troops against USA forces.

Mattis doubled down on assessments that the war is at a stalemate, telling lawmakers the United States is "not winning in Afghanistan".

Despite the uncertainty about USA operations in Afghanistan, though, American troop presence is still an insurance policy against another 9/11, Mattis told Sen. On the same day, the US hit two pro-Syrian government pick up trucks near the southern town of At Tanf. "I was confident that within the first 30 to 60 days we would have a strategy of which to start working". The country hosts roughly 10,000 American troops as well as the forward headquarters of U.S. Central Command.

"No enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of our military than sequestration", said Mattis.

A recent Pentagon study found that China's official military budget had grown an average of 8.5% from 2007 to 2016, saying that "Chinese leaders seem committed to increases in defense spending for the foreseeable future, even as China's economic growth slows".

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