From the moment President Donald Trump took office, he began keeping his promises to voters, and we have witnessed the resulting attacks by the left, who have reacted with protests, riots, and violence, seeming to utterly resent him for actually keeping his word. In the wake of this public outcry, the top U.S. General leading the fight against the Afghani Taliban asked Trump to send him a devastating weapon to wipe out the enemy.
According to a report by Daily Caller, General John Nicholson appeared before the Senate Committee on Armed Services on Thursday, February 9th to announce that “the U.S. is neither winning nor losing in Afghanistan.” Nicholson’s announcement came directly before his request for thousands of more troops, which Trump promised he would deliver during his presidential campaign.
During his testimony before the committee, Nicholson declared that the U.S. and NATO forces currently fighting the Taliban for control of Afghanistan are in a “stalemate.” According to the Herald Sun, Nicholson said he had discussed troop levels with Defense Secretary James Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to Nicholson, there are currently about 8,400 U.S. troops conducting counterterrorism operations against insurgents and training the Afghan army.
The “stalemate” Nicholson referred to is largely the result of meddling from outside powers seeking to disrupt U.S. operations in Afghanistan. He declined to make a statement on whether or not Russia was directly helping the Taliban in the open hearing before the committee, but he did say that Russia has been publicly legitimizing the Taliban by claiming that they are fighting Islamic terrorists while the government of Afghanistan is not.
Nicholson spoke in detail about one example of problems caused by the troop shortage. He told the committee that because of the troop level limits, the aviation brigade which deployed to Afghanistan was able to bring helicopters, pilots, and staff, but was forced to leave behind its mechanics at Fort Riley in Kansas. This resulted in the hiring of private contractors costing “tens of millions of dollars.”
Nicholson summarized his statement, telling the committee that because the soldier mechanics were left to sit at home, the overall readiness of the Army unit was negatively impacted. He went on to say there is currently a contractor to advisor ratio of 2:1, and in response to a question from Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Nicholson said the Army doesn’t have enough troops to provide adequate oversight of all those contractors.
Many in the military and government community interpret Nicholson’s request for help as a signaling to President Trump to make good on his promise to send more troops. The mess Barack Obama left in his wake will not be an easy one to clean up, but leaving our troops at a disadvantage and under-staffed in armed conflict is not an option.