US Afghan Policy Awaits a White House Decision
It has been three months since the top commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan said he needed a few thousand more troops to break a "stalemate" in the war-torn country, and the Trump administration has yet to announce its policy plans.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said this week that no decision has been made, and he urged reporters not to "get ahead" of the policymaking process.
Military officials told VOA that policy plans could include sending a few thousand more international troops to Afghanistan.
The number of troops that the United States will add to the fight in Afghanistan will depend on how many additional forces NATO supplies to expand the battle against terrorists there, Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in Israel on Tuesday.
Officials told VOA that President Donald Trump has not yet been briefed on an Afghanistan defense plan, but experts said plans are expected to be discussed later this month.
U.S. officials said the administration's developing policy would focus less on international troop numbers needed and more on providing resources for increased Afghan air power and special forces. The importance of the counterterror mission has increased since Islamic State fighters moved into the country.
That, coupled with supporting a long-term Afghan fight against the Taliban, leads many experts to believe that unlike the Obama administration, Trump's policy will not set timelines and troop boundaries.
US Alerted France of Russian Cyber Attacks during Presidential Election
The U.S. informed French officials that Russia had hacked France's computer networks during the country's presidential election before the cyber attacks became public, a U.S. national security official told Congress Thursday.
"We are aware of specific Russian activity directed against the French election cycle, in the course, particularly in the last few weeks," National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. "We think it was important enough that we actually reached out to our French counterparts to inform them," Rogers added.
France's election campaign commission said Saturday "a significant amount of data," some of it likely fake, was leaked on social networks after a cyber attack on the presidential campaign of centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron.
The leak came 36 hours before France's runoff election Sunday in which Macron beat far right candidate Marine Le Pen. French election officials said the leaked data apparently came from the computer systems and email accounts of Macron and some of his campaign managers.