Pentagon to bulk up in Afghanistan with drones, troops under Trump’s new strategy

The Pentagon is planning to bolster the Trump administration’s new strategy in Afghanistan by reallocating drones and other hardware while sending in around 1,000 new combat advisers.

Quoting Pentagon and military officials, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that besides the combat advisers, the US Defense Department is planning to reallocate drones and other hardware.

The Pentagon announced last year in November that at least 3,000 additional American troops have been sent into Afghanistan under US President Donald Trump’s new strategy, bringing the number of US forces in the country to at least 14,000.

Military officials quoted by the Wall Street Journal said the reason to bulk up the US military presence in Afghanistan is to intensify the war against terrorist groups particularly Daesh.

The new personnel who will be sent it to Afghanistan as soon as February will work as combat advisers to Afghan National Security Forces, US officials said as quoted in the report.

“We have Marines in Afghanistan. We’re talking in the central command region in that particular fight, hundreds, not thousands, but we have hundreds that are making an incredibly important difference on the outcome of that fight,” said Lt. Gen. Maj. Gen. Brian D. Beaudreault, the deputy commandant for Plans, Policies, and Operations.

Meanwhile, Pentagon called on Pakistan to act against terrorist groups on its soil.

“We believe that Pakistan can address this threat. This is an opportunity for them to take decisive action, and we look forward to working with them to encourage them to do so,” Pentagon Chief spokesman Dana White said at a news conference.

He said boosting India-United States relations is part of Washington’s efforts to ensure stability in Afghanistan.

“We’re excited about the opportunities for India to participate in the South Asia strategy, and how we secure that region. They’re an important player, and in 2018 we look forward to doing more with them. India has contributed a great deal in terms of developmental aid in Afghanistan,” White said.

This comes after American media reported this week that the US Navy is planning to hire drone-maker General Atomics to fly its unarmed MQ-9 Reapers in support of US Marines in Afghanistan.

US Navy wants to hire contractors to fly their own MQ-9 Reaper drones in Afghanistan

The contractor-operated drones would provide a “surge” of intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance capabilities as the US military expand its activities in the Central Asian country, which the US Air Force is not able to provide at present, The Drive reported Thursday.

The proposed deal was announced by the Naval Air System Command (NAVAIR) in January 2009.

The contract, which the Navy did not give an estimated value for, would cover up to a year of operations in Afghanistan running between the 2018 Fiscal Year, when began on Oct. 1, 2017, and the 2019 fiscal cycle.

The announcement does not elaborate anything about the number of Reapers in the mission.

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