>> And we're achieving these goals by>> US President Donald Trump has given Defense Secretary Jim Mattis the authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan, a decision opening the door to future troop increases requested by the top US commander. A US official telling Reuters no immediate decisions have been made about ramping up US deployment.
The Pentagon declined to comment. The change coming as Mattis told Congress Tuesday that US-backed forces are not beating back the Taliban despite more than 15 years of war.>> We are not winning in Afghanistan right now. And we will correct this as soon as possible, I believe.>> To date more than 2,300 american soldiers have been killed and over 17,000 wounded in the mission.
And US military officials acknowledge the situation has deteriorated in recent months. A truck bomb in Kabul in May killed more than 150 people, the deadliest attack since the Taliban's ouster in 2001. Three American troop we're killed on Saturday when an Afghan soldier opened fire on them.>> When can we expect the congress United States to get a strategy for Afghanistan that is a departure from the last eight years which is, don't lose.
>> By mid July, we'll be able to brief you in detail, sir. We're putting it together now, and there are actions being taken to make certain that we don't pay a price for the delay.>> Reuters reported in April that US President Donald Trump is considering a plan to send 3-5,000 new American and coalition troops to the country.
Trump's decision to hand over strategic matters to the Pentagon could be framed as that of a leader who does not want to micromanage the military. Critics warn the delegating authority to the Armed Forces does not shield Trump from political responsibility for battle field mishaps and setbacks. Some US officials question the benefit of ramping up troop levels.
Arguing the actual number of soldiers really needed to turn the tide in Afghanistan would be politically unpalatable at home.