Secretary of Defense James Mattis offered the most detailed view of President Donald Trump’s strategy to turn the tide of war in Afghanistan Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Mattis’s prepared testimony laid out an “R4+S” strategy, which stands for “regionalize, realign, reinforce, reconcile, and sustain.” The strategy hits upon larger themes of Trump’s Aug. 21 address to the American people, when he pledged to adopt a conditions-based approach for withdrawal from Afghanistan that focuses on pressuring Pakistan to crack down on terror safe havens.
The first three R’s emphasize the regional approach the administration intends to take, providing additional U.S. military advisers at lower levels of the Afghan National Security Forces, and pledging to stay in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future. Mattis deployed an additional 3,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan shortly after Trump’s address to carry out this mission.
The ultimate goal of the strategy is “reconciliation,” which entails “convincing our foes that the coalition is committed to a conditions-based outcome, we intend to drive fence-sitters and those who will see that we’re not quitting this fight to reconcile with the Afghan National Government.” (Read more from “Here’s How Mattis Plans to Win the War in Afghanistan” HERE)