President Trump announced on Monday his administration’s plan for the war in Afghanistan. The stated strategy included an increase in troops that secures the region from ISIS and Al-Qaeda militants, condemnation of a hasty withdrawal from the country that could have negative consequences for Afghanistan and the U.S., a warning to Pakistan if it continues to provide safe havens for terror groups and a shift from nation building and writing blank checks to solely defeating terrorists.
Before Trump dived into his war plan, his opening remarks during his speech at Fort Myer in Arlington, Va., began with a clear reference to the recent tragedy in Charlottesville, Va. “When one citizen suffers an injustice, we all suffer,” he said. He also added that members of the U.S. military don’t deserve to come back to a country that is at war with itself or not at peace within.
Trump then proceeded to break down his plan of action, with three core conclusions.
- The war in Afghanistan must have an honorable and enduring outcome.
- A hasty withdrawal could provide “predictable and unacceptable” consequences. He referenced the repercussions of a hasty withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, which lead to the rise of groups like ISIS, which added to the significant damage the U.S. invasion in Iraq already cased. Trump warned against making the same mistakes in Afghanistan, which could also lead to the rise of ISIS and Al-Qaeda if the U.S. withdraws too soon.
- The security threats facing the U.S. in “Afghanistan and the broader region are immense.”
Trump also stated Pakistan and India could assist more by not only stabilizing Afghanistan, but the south Asian region as a whole. He argued that while the U.S. pays Pakistan billions of dollars, the country continues to harbor terror groups and urged it to eliminate safe havens.
“Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor terrorists,” he said. He also urged India to get more involved in securing Afghanistan.
Trump also stated that the U.S. will not be writing a blank check to the Afghan government, that they too must share the economic and political burden, but that the U.S. will continue to support as long as it sees progress in Afghanistan.