Trump's new Afghan strategy
In a televised speech, Trump said he wants to expand US military intervention in Afghanistan and South Asia. However, he didn't give specific detail on how he plans to do it, how many troops he would commit or how he would evaluate success.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson telephoned his counterparts in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India on Monday to brief them ahead of President Donald Trump's speech outlining a new approach to the Afghan conflict.
The calls were made hours before Trump was scheduled to make a nationally televised address from Virginia on the war that began in October 2001 with an invasion that quickly led to the fall of the Taliban government.
In the televised speech, President Trump laid out plans to deepen U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, a mission that seems never-ending and has been a liability on his antecessors, as reported in the NY Times. (Here’s a transcript of Trump's speech on Afghanistan.) However, he didn't give specific detail on how he plans to do it, how many troops he would commit or how he would evaluate success.
Donald Trump once described the mission on Afghanistan as a “complete waste”.
"The topic was how the United States would like to work with each country to stabilize South Asia through a new, integrated regional strategy," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said of Tillerson's conversations.
US media outlets reported that Trump is planning to announce the deployment of an additional 4,000 American troops to Afghanistan.
Some accounts suggest the president will also reduce US military aid to Pakistan, blamed by many in Washington for providing safe haven to the Taliban.
The United States currently has some 8,400 troops in Afghanistan as part of a NATO operation to assist Afghan forces and to carry out anti-terrorism strikes in the South Asian country.
The Pentagon views the present troop levels as insufficient to counter the Taliban, who now control about 40 percent of Afghan territory.
Today, President Trump will hold a rally in Phoenix. Officials are expecting a furious reception for not having firmly condemned racially violence in Charlottesville, Va, as reported in The NY Times.