By Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said on Thursday he needs several thousand more international troops in order to break a stalemate in the long war with Taliban insurgents, signaling the matter may soon be put before President Donald Trump.
So far, Trump has offered little clarity about whether he might approve more forces for Afghanistan, where some 8,400 U.S. troops remain more than 15 years after the Islamist Taliban government was toppled by U.S.-backed Afghan forces.
A U.S. soldier was severely wounded in fighting in Afghanistan on Thursday, the military said.
Army General John Nicholson, who leads U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, acknowledged Taliban gains over the past year, when deployed U.S. forces were reduced even as security deteriorated.
Nicholson said he still had enough U.S. troops to carry out counterterrorism missions against al Qaeda and other militant targets, but not enough to properly advise Afghan forces on the ground.
“We have a shortfall of a few thousand,” Nicholson told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
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