Washington, 22 August: United States President Donald Trump on Monday said that he would not announce dates or troop levels, but “from now on victory will have a clear definition,” while laying down goals for the war in Afghanistan. Trump, while giving an address at the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, a U.S. military base adjacent to the Arlington National Cemetery, proclaimed the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan, saying that the objectives will include “obliterating ISIS” and “preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan.” Trump made it clear that he would not announce dates of military operations in advance and went on to say that he would not discuss troop levels or further plans for military activities.”I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will,” Trump said.
Trump further said that to achieve these goals, he would expand the authority for the U.S. to target criminal and terrorist networks in Afghanistan.He also said, “Afghan will secure and build their own nation and define their own future. We want them to succeed. But we will no longer use the American military to construct democracies in faraway lands or try to rebuild other countries in our own image.” Trump further said, “Those days are now over,” adding that America will instead work with allies and partners to protect their “shared interests”. Trump also said that a rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan is not feasible, pointing to the lessons the U.S. learned from Iraq.
“The consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable,” Trump said. “We cannot repeat in Afghanistan the mistake we made in Iraq.” Pointing out to the presence of terrorists in Afghanistan, Trump said, “They are nothing but thugs and criminals and predators and, that’s right, losers.” Trump further said that they will “defeat them and defeat them handily.” Trump had earlier expressed reservations about the seemingly endless U.S. military commitment in Afghanistan and questioned the objectives of staying there. The President reached a decision on the future of the U.S. strategy after a final round of deliberations with his national security team at Camp David on Friday.
Trump’s decision comes as Taliban militants have been resurgent in recent months, posting a series of recent gains against Afghan government forces, which are backed by a US-led coalition of NATO allies. The ISIS, through a regional affiliate known as the ISIS-K, has also established a foothold in Afghanistan in recent years, carrying out a series of deadly terrorist attacks and coordinating assaults with the Taliban, reports CNN. About 8,400 U.S. troops are currently deployed in Afghanistan. The majority of about 6,900 are assigned to the NATO mission to train and advise Afghan security forces alongside approximately 6,000 troops from other NATO countries.