US establishment testify before Senate on new Afghanistan policy, Pakistan - India role

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US establishment testify before Senate on new Afghanistan policy, Pakistan - India role

WASHINGTON - The US Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford are slated to testify on Afghanistan late Tuesday night to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Trump announced his strategy in mid-August in a speech that critics said was light on specifics.

Among the major changes Trump shared was dropping any timeline for withdrawal. The president said the US presence will be based on conditions on the ground.

He also said he plans to put more pressure on Pakistan to target terrorists’ safe havens within its borders and called on India to contribute more to the fight in Afghanistan.

But questions remain about what specifically the administration is seeking from India, how it plans to avoid stoking conflict between India and Pakistan and how specifically it will pressure Pakistan to do more on terrorism.

Recently, Mattis visited New Delhi and said India and the United States "resolve to work together to eradicate this scourge" of terrorism.

Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said her country is prepared to step up the development aid and training of Afghan officers it has already been providing, but said they have"made it very clear that there shall not be boots from India on the ground".

The administration has also not defined what ground conditions would lead to a US withdrawal, nor has it publicly said exactly how many more American troops are headed to Afghanistan.

Mattis has said it's more than 3,000, but has refused to get more specific. Reports citing unnamed officials say it is about 3,500.