President Donald Trump has committed U.S. support in the ongoing war in Afghanistan. While not offering specifics in regard to a number of troops that would be involved, his decision was welcomed by the Afghan government.
In a nationally televised speech from Ft. Myer, VA on Monday night, Trump admitted that he favored a withdrawal from the war-torn country and was going against his instincts in approving this new campaign strategy sought by his top military advisers, but said that leaving would pose a greater risk.
“The consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable,” he said. “A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al Qaeda, would instantly fill.” The Taliban released a statement stating that they would make the country a “graveyard for the American empire.”
Still, he promised an end to “nation-building” by U.S. forces in what has become American’s longest war and stressed that ultimately Afghanistan’s struggling police and army must defeat the Taliban.
“The stronger the Afghan security forces become, the less we will have to do. Afghans will secure and build their own nation and define their own future. We want them to succeed.”
Most of the approximately 8,400 U.S. troops in Afghanistan work with a NATO-led training and advising mission, with the rest part of a counter-terrorism force that mostly targets pockets of al Qaeda and Islamic State fighters.
While Trump said he would not discuss troop levels or details of the new strategy, U.S. officials said on Monday he had signed off on Defense Secretary James Mattis’ plans to send about 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan.
Trump called out Pakistan for allowing safe havens for terrorists inside of their borders. The Pakistanis strongly denied this, “There are no terrorist hideouts in Pakistan,” spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said.
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