General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S army, arrived in Kabul on Monday and is expected to carry out a final assessment on the security situation in Afghanistan in order to finalize the U.S’s new military strategy for Afghanistan.
According to U.S media reports, Dunford is set to meet with Afghan officials and with the U.S and NATO commanders. His visit to Kabul is said to be the last step in the U.S’s assessment process ahead of an expected announcement next month on troop levels in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, reports indicate that U.S Defense Secretary James Mattis is scheduled to go to Belgium at the end of this week to discuss the issue of sending in more troops to Afghanistan.
He will meet with NATO allies to discuss the issue, reports say.
“Gen. Dunford arrives in Afghanistan to meet with Afghan partners and get an up close look at some of RS train, advise and assist efforts,” NATO’s Resolute Support Mission tweeted.
There are rumors that the U.S is expected to deploy few thousand more troops in Afghanistan.
"Any decisions about troop numbers will be made only after consultation with the interagency, the Afghan government, NATO allies and coalition partners," Dana White said.
“I know everyone wants to know what is going to happen, but the secretary has been very deliberative and very thoughtful about what the commanders need and what is necessary to change the task,” she added.
Meanwhile, a number of military analysts urged the United States to empower the Afghan government and put more pressure on militants.
“Military pressure by government on the armed opponents can help Afghanistan in the peace process. A weak government cannot sit with a powerful enemy and talk from a solid position,” said international affairs analyst Hekmatullah Hekmat.
“By restoring just a few thousands more, I think we can get the advisors out on the field and some of the key Afghan units and hopefully really stabilize the situations,” said Michael Edward O'Hanlon a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute.
“Further development of Afghanistan’s intelligence capabilities form one of the key elements of the recommendations which have been referred to the U.S. side,” said Mohammad Radmanish, deputy spokesman to Ministry of Defense.
Dunford visits Kabul at a time that the Afghans suffered deadly spate of violence over the past one month and two days before the NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels where the alliance is expected to focus on the vacuums facing NATO’s mission in the country.
Afghanistan’s acting minister of defenes Tariq Shah Bahrami is set to present Afghanistan in the two day NATO’s defense ministers meeting in Brussels which begins Wednesday.
The Pentagon is reviewing the strategy for Afghanistan, which Defense Secretary James Mattis said may take several weeks. But the question of sending additional troops is considered urgent in order to halt recent Taliban advances as another fighting season gets underway.