Deciding next step in Afghanistan comes with grim backdrop

WASHINGTON (AP) — Deliberations by the Trump administration to determine the way ahead for the war in Afghanistan come with a grim backdrop.

Afghan soldiers are suffering what Pentagon officials call “shockingly high” battlefield casualties. The prospects for a negotiated peace settlement with the Taliban are narrowing. While insurgents have failed to capture and hold a major city, they are controlling or influencing ever more territory.

U.S. troops are supporting beleaguered Afghans against the Taliban insurgency and stepping up attacks on an extremist group considered an Islamic State affiliate. Sending more troops to the region remains an option.

A Pentagon official says President Donald Trump will receive a proposed new approach to the war within a week, one expected to move beyond the stalemate now affecting the 16-year-old conflict.