President Trump on War in Afghanistan: “We Will Win”
Monday, US President Donald Trump declared: “…in the end, we will win” vowing to keep American troops fighting in Afghanistan.
But, insisting the US would not offer “a blank check” after 16 years of war, and he pointedly declined to say whether or when more troops might be sent.
In a prime-time address unveiling of his new Afghanistan strategy, President Trump said the US will shift away from a “time-based” approach, instead linking its assistance to results and to cooperation from the Afghan government, Pakistan and others.
“We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities,” President Trump said. “Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on.”
President Trump said his “original instinct was to pull out,” alluding to his long-expressed view before becoming President that Afghanistan was an unsolvable quagmire requiring a fast US withdrawal.
Since taking office, President Trump said, he’d determined that approach could create a vacuum that terrorists including al-Qaida and the Islamic State could “instantly fill.”
The American People are “weary of war without victory.”
“I share the America people’s frustration,” Trump said at the Army’s Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the White House. Still, he insisted that “in the end, we will win.”
The Pentagon has argued the U.S. must stay engaged to ensure terrorists can’t again use the territory to threaten America. Afghan military commanders agreed, making clear they want and expect continued US military help.
The setting for Monday night’s speech, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, sits alongside Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for many Americans who have died in the war.