Generational opportunity between India, US to work together: Jim Mattis

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis

A top USA military officer said on Tuesday that he believed that Pakistan's main spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), had ties to militant groups.

John McCain, the Arizona Republican who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, took both to task for failing to provide information to Congress about the Trump administration's new strategy in Afghanistan.

"The fighting will continue to be carried out by our Afghan partners, but our advisers will accompany tactical units to advise and assist and bring North Atlantic Treaty Organisation fire support to bear when needed", Mattis testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. More than 2,000 US troops have been killed and more than 20,000 injured in the war.

Mattis said the additional troops will be advising Afghan forces at the battalion and brigade levels but will be allowed to accompany forces to the battlefield and can employ fire support.

The U.S. has been waging war in Afghanistan for 16 years.

The bumper-sticker version of the strategy is "4R+S", the secretary said: regionalize, realign, reinforce, reconcile and sustain.

Mattis further said he would be traveling to Islamabad soon, but did not give more details. "This is totally unacceptable", McCain said, adding that it was "bizarre that for a hearing of such importance our witnesses failed to submit written testimony to this committee".

"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 during that speech. Those extra troops will extend the US-led coalition's advisory effort, he said.

Kim Jong-un brother's murder trial begins as suspects plead not guilty
He had, however, spoken out publicly against his family's dynastic control of the reclusive, nuclear-armed nation. Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of North Korea's leader, was killed by a nerve agent as he waited for a flight.

"Too often, members of this committee are learning in the media for the first time about major national security and military activities", McCain said last week.

"Our advisers will accompany tactical units to advise and bring North Atlantic Treaty Organisation fire support to bear when needed", Mattis said.

The senator also asked when Trump will decide whether to close a controversial Taliban office in Qatar. We will firmly address Pakistan's role.

The Trump administration is contemplating possibility of the shuttering down Afghan rebels Taliban's Doha office as the USA army and the Afghanistan leaders muster efforts to finish with the armed group.

On Friday, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged Europe to defy U.S. sanctions if Trump's administration abandons the JCPOA.

During his remarks, Mattis said there's been progress in reducing civilian and military casualties in Afghanistan and more effectiveness in the Asian country's security forces too. "It's in all their best interests", he said in response to a question from Senator Joni Ernest.

The strategy, created to end the stalemate in the region, replaces time constraints with a conditions-based approach and will seek to ensure Afghanistan never becomes a haven for terrorists again, Mattis told the senators.

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