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U.S. Official Says No Decision Yet On Increasing Force In Afghanistan

H.R. McMaster (file photo)

U.S. national security adviser H.R. McMaster says President Donald Trump has not yet decided whether to send additional troops to Afghanistan to support the fight against the Taliban and other Islamist militants.

McMaster on May 12 said the president will have a chance to get the views of allies during his upcoming foreign trip, which will include stops at a NATO summit on May 25 in Brussels and a meeting of Group of Seven (G7) industrial nations in Sicily on May 26-27.

U.S. media reports have said the White House is considering increasing the size of its force in Afghanistan by up to 5,000 soldiers, adding to the 8,400 U.S. troops now there.

The total international force in Afghanistan is about 13,000, down from around 100,000 during the peak of the 16-year U.S. military presence in the country that drove the Taliban from power.

The Taliban has been resurgent in recent years and now controls large portions of the country.

"We are working with our allies to figure out what more we can do to have a more effective strategy in Afghanistan," he told a White House briefing.

"What options we can bring to the president to be more effective in meeting our objectives in Afghanistan, and what more can we ask our allies to do which we're asking them now," he said.

Trump is also scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican during the trip.

Based on reporting by dpa and AP