Mattis says Iran 'fundamentally' in compliance with nuclear deal

US trying to blame Pakistan for failures in Afghanistan: FO spokesperson

Mattis was testifying in front of the committee alongside Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, the pair's second hearing of the day on the USA strategy in Afghanistan.

Mattis reiterated the change in the afternoon while speaking to the House Armed Services Committee: "We are no longer bound by the need for proximity to our forces".

Mattis and Dunford billed the plan as a "conditions-based" strategy, not dependent on a hard timeline for withdrawal of troops.

Trump also singled out Pakistan for harboring Taliban leaders and other militants that are battling American troops in Afghanistan.

At the start of a full day of congressional hearings for Mattis and Dunford, Sen.

But Marine Corp Gen Dunford said it's now a stalemate in Afghanistan. McCain asked. "I don't think so".

"The enemy [Taliban] is under pressure, they have a loss of leadership and have become increasingly fractious", Mr Mattis said.

Mattis said Tuesday that those additional USA troops would be "arriving now and in the coming months". It opened in 2013 to start talks with the Taliban in concert with the Obama administration's drawdown of forces. "Those without have not won", said Mattis. "It's in all their best interests", he said in response to a question from Senator Joni Ernest. "Stability can follow economics as much as stability can enable economics".

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Mattis said that Pakistan has a "convoluted history" with terrorism and that there is no doubt that terrorists and militant groups have used the nation as a haven to conduct attacks in other countries, and not just in Afghanistan. There are 320,000 Afghan forces. The trainers will be embedded at the unit level, closer to the front lines, as opposed to the strategic level. USA is also said to be conferring with U.K on the matter.

Defense Secretary James Mattis on Tuesday insisted coalition forces have "blunted" enemy groups in Afghanistan in recent months but conceded violence remains an ongoing challenge. "It is time for the Taliban to recognize they cannot kill their way to power, nor can they provide refuge or support to trans-national terrorists who intend to do us harm".

Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, says that decertification is an "internal" USA matter and that a Republican Congress may well decide to preserve the accord, regardless of the president's actions.

The changes include removing proximity requirements for strikes against the Taliban and extending U.S. advisers to lower-level Afghan units.

Mattis' statement gave them a strong argument in the discussion.

Tuesday wasn't completely smooth sailing for Mattis and Dunford.

"Reconcile" means convincing the Taliban that the US-led coalition is committed to staying in Afghanistan until it comes to the negotiation table with the Afghan government. After Trump's new policy was announced, though, McCain applauded the president "for taking a big step in the right direction". We must be well-informed.

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