U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said on Monday that “all options” remained on the table over new strategy in Afghanistan, adding that those options included a full withdrawal from the war-torn country.
James Mattis at press conference said that the Trump administration was “very, very close” to finalizing its new strategy in Afghanistan, but warned it had not been settled yet.
“The strategic decisions have not been made,” Mattis said.
He added that “all options” remained on the table for how to approach Afghanistan, and said those options included a full withdrawal as well as a proposal for the use of more contractors to manage the US effort there.
It has been about seven months since Trump took office as U.S. President, but his administration has yet to announce a strategy on Afghanistan to break the “stalemate “ with the Taliban.
When asked if Trump had confidence in Gen. John Nicholson as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Mattis replied, “ask the President,” and voiced his own support for the general.
“He is our commander in the field,” Mattis said. “He has the confidence of NATO. He has the confidence of Afghanistan. He has the confidence of the United States, and the President again is looking at all aspects of our effort over there as he must in his responsibilities as the commander-in-chief.”