President Donald Trump speaks to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and members of the National Security Council during a meeting at the Pentagon, July 20, 2017. DOD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith.
President Trump on Thursday met with Defense Secretary James Mattis and other top Defense and State Department officials during a rare meeting at the Pentagon as the White House and DOD officials mull sending more troops to Afghanistan.
“We’re going to see,” Trump said in response to a question about sending more troops. “We are doing very well against ISIS. ISIS is falling fast, very fast.”
Undersecretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan—who was just sworn in on Wednesday—Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, and VCJCS Gen. Paul Selva also attended, according to the Pentagon.
The meeting comes a day after Trump met with his entire national security team to discuss the next steps in the war in Afghanistan. Trump has given Mattis control over the numbers of troops to send, as long as the number is less than 3,900.
“It’s our longest war,” Trump told reporters earlier this week, according to The Washington Post. “We’ve been there for many years. We’ve been there for now close to 17 years and I want to find out why we’ve been there for 17 years, how it’s going, and what we should do in terms of additional ideas.”
Also on Wednesday, Mattis and Dunford met in a closed meeting with senators on Capitol Hill about the way forward against ISIS.
Mattis has said his decision to send more troops to Afghanistan will follow a full government approach to the Middle East based on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s strategy.