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U.S. Taking 'Regional Approach' In New Afghanistan Strategy, Mattis Says


U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he will present options on Afghanistan to President Donald Trump "very soon," and the new U.S. strategy will take a "regional approach" rather than addressing the country's long-running war in isolation.

"We are taking a regional approach to this... We will take that forward to the president for a decision very soon," Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee on June 12.

Media have reported that Mattis will recommend sending another 3,000 to 5,000 U.S. troops to break what he has called a "stalemate" between U.S.-backed government forces and the Taliban.

Despite U.S. President Donald Trump's hope for improving U.S. relations with Russia, Mattis told the committee he doesn't see any indication that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants a more positive relationship with the United States.

"Mr. Putin has chosen to be a strategic competitor," he said, although he added that ties could improve "as we look for common ground."

Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, who is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also told the committee the relationship between Russia and the United States is "adversarial."

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters
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