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>> US President Donald Trump, huddling with his national security team on Friday. Trying to agree on a strategy for Afghanistan amid recent gains by Taliban insurgents. The meeting at Camp David in Maryland, an attempt to overcome deep internal divisions over the 16 year old war. Trump's National Security advisor HR McMaster, and military commanders favor a substantial increase in troop strength.
While others, including now former chief strategist Steve Bannon, had pushed Trump to cut back on the Afghan commitment. With Bannon out, US officials telling Reuters, Trump is considering four options for Afghanistan. Keep the status quo of some 8,400 US troops, cut back that force with a shift toward counter-terrorism.
Raise troop strength by several thousand or withdraw US forces altogether.>> We are coming very close to a decision and I anticipate it in the very near future.>> Most of Trump's national security team backing a troop increase of 3 to 5,000 in the face of recent setbacks.
The Taliban insurgency retaking several key cities leading Trump to consider firing top commander, General John Nicolson. A move Defense Secretary James Mattis opposes. Among those around the table, Trump's new Chief of Staff, retired Marine General John Kelly. Who commanded troops in Iraq and who's own son is among those killed in the Afghan war.
Trump has worked to project new toughness dropping the largest ever conventional bomb on Islamic State Fighters in Afghanistan soon after taking office. US intelligence agencies tell Reuters, conditions in Afghanistan will almost certainly continue to get worse through next year. Even with an increase in the size of the US force.