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WASHINGTON — President Trump’s most senior military and foreign policy advisers have proposed a major shift in strategy in Afghanistan that would effectively put the United States back on a war footing with the Taliban.

The new plan, which has yet to be approved by the president, calls for expanding the US military role as part of a broader effort to push an increasingly confident and resurgent Taliban back to the negotiating table, officials said.

The plan comes at the end of a sweeping policy review built around the president’s desire to reverse worsening security in Afghanistan and ‘‘start winning’’ again, said one US official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.


The new strategy, which has the backing of top Cabinet officials, would authorize the Pentagon, not the White House, to set troop numbers in Afghanistan and give the military far broader authority to use airstrikes to target Taliban militants. It would also lift Obama-era restrictions that limited the mobility of US military advisers on the battlefield.

The net result of the changes would be to reverse moves by former president Barack Obama to limit the American military role in Afghanistan, along with the risk to American troops and the cost of the war effort, more than 15 years after US forces first arrived there.

Trump is expected to make a final call on the strategy before a May 25 NATO summit in Brussels that he plans to attend.

Officials said it was unclear whether Trump would look favorably on expanding the US role in Afghanistan. He has voiced skepticism about allowing troops to become bogged down in foreign conflicts, but has also expressed a desire to be tough on terrorism.

The new strategy is a product of the US military’s mounting worries that the fragile stalemate with the Taliban has been steadily eroding for years, jeopardizing the survival of an allied government and endangering a key US base for combating militant groups such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State throughout South Asia.


The proposal faces resistance from some senior administration officials who fear a repeat of earlier decisions to intensify military efforts that produced only temporary improvements.

In Afghanistan on Monday, officials said the government was hoping to capitalize on the death of a top Islamic State commander. Afghan forces surged through districts in eastern Afghanistan long held by the radical Islamist group as warplanes pounded militant hideouts.

The offensive in Nangahar province aims to strike Islamic State fighters when their numbers are down and their leadership could be in disarray after a US-Afghan commando raid late last month killed a militant leader, Abdul Hasib.

It also underscores the widening attention on Nangahar, where the US military on April 13 dropped its largest nonnuclear bomb on a complex of caves and tunnels used by the Islamic State, reportedly killing 36 militants. Nangahar, on the border with Pakistan, is a main route for militant fighters and supplies.

But even as Afghan forces advanced into some villages for the first time in months, intense fighting extended across several areas.

Afghan officials said at least 34 militants had been killed by Afghan airstrikes since Sunday, but gave no figures on Afghan casualties. The role of US-led coalition forces in the Nangahar offensive was not immediately clear.


The killing of the Islamic State commander Hasib in an April 27 night raid, announced Sunday by the Pentagon and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, was carried out by a team of 50 US and 40 Afghan special operations forces.

They assaulted a cluster of buildings where Hasib and other Islamic State militants were staying, killing all of them and 35 guards. Officials said the announcement of Hasib’s death was delayed until his remains could be positively identified.

It was the third major blow in recent months to the Islamic State in Khorasan, or ISIS-K, the regional branch of the Sunni extremist militia. Its forces include former Pakistani Taliban, Uzbeks, and other foreign fighters.

Two US Army Rangers also died during the April 27 operation, possibly because of friendly fire, US officials said.

The raid came eight months after the previous ISIS-K leader, or emir, Hafiz Saeed, was killed in a US drone strike.