Department of Defense Secretary James Mattis made the startling revelation that the U.S. is losing the war in Afghanistan as he spoke to members of Congress on Tuesday.
Mattis testified very bluntly to members of the Senate Armed Services Committee about the declining military situation in Afghanistan, but said that he will have the problem fixed shortly, according to Reuters.
"We are not winning in Afghanistan right now. And we will correct this as soon as possible," Mattis said during his testimony.
Mattis said that despite 16 years of fighting in the middle eastern country, the U.S./Afghan coalition forces have arrived at little more than a "stalemate."
According to a U.S. military assessment of the Afghani military control or influence, only 59.7 percent of Afghanistan's 407 districts are held by the Afghan military as of Feb. 20. This is 11 percent less than the military held around the same time in 2016.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Mattis that the U.S. has an urgent need for "a change in strategy, and an increase in resources if we are to turn the situation around."
"We recognize the need for urgency," Mattis replied, who told lawmakers he is currently crafting a new military strategy that he will reveal by mid-July.
According to Reuters, Mattis' plan is widely expected to require the introduction of thousands of additional U.S. troops to the Afghan theater. An April report by Reuters said anonymous officials revealed the Trump administration was carrying out a review of Afghanistan strategies, with discussions revolving around sending 3,000 to 5,000 more troops into the region.
Currently, the U.S. has 9,000 troops in Afghanistan. Around 7,000 of these troops are utilized to train and assist Afghan forces, and about 1,500 are counter-terror units that specifically target pockets of terrorist groups such as al-Qaida, and the Islamic State.
Some members of the committee reportedly questioned the effectiveness of sending more troops into the region, as anything short of an overwhelming force would be ineffective in creating stability and security in the country. However, according to committee officials, this number is unlikely to be a politically viable option.
Since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan in 2001, over 2,300 American troops have lost their lives, with another 17,000 wounded.