The US President Donald Trump early on Tuesday morning announced his administration’s new strategy on Afghanistan and South Asia.
After paying tribute to the US forces in Afghanistan, Trump said “I am here tonight to lay out our path forward in Afghanistan and South Asia.”
He was expected to talk about number of US troops which will be deployed to Afghanistan based on the new strategy. However, he did not mention this matter in his speech.
“We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities,” he said. “America's enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out. I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.”
He said the US victory in Afghanistan will have a definition.
“Our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win. From now on, victory will have a clear definition. — attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge. We will ask our NATO allies and global partners to support our new strategy, with additional troop and funding increases in line with our own. We are confident they will,” Trump stated.
He said the new strategy of the US for Afghanistan will be conditions-based.
“As a result of our comprehensive review, American strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia will change dramatically in the following ways: A core pillar of our new strategy is a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions.”
“Another fundamental pillar of our new strategy is the integration of all instruments of American power, diplomatic, economic, and military, toward a successful outcome,” he added.
He also talked about giving more authority to the troops on the ground. “We will also expand authority for American armed forces to target the terrorists and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan,” the US president said.
He added that their mission in Afghanistan will be to eliminate terrorists.
“Ultimately, it is up to the people of Afghanistan to take ownership of their future, to govern their society, and to achieve an everlasting peace. We are a partner and a friend, but we will not dictate to the Afghan people how to live or how to govern their own complex society. We are not nation building again. We are killing terrorists,” he added.
He also talked about the expansion of US forces authorities in the country.
“We will also expand authority for American armed forces to target the terrorists and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan,” he said.
On Pakistan issue, Trump vowed to change the US's approach to dealing with the Afghan neighbor, promising to crack down on Pakistan's harboring of terrorist and militant groups.
"They are housing the very terrorists we are fighting," Trump said, noting that the US gives Pakistan billions of dollars. "That will have to change and that will change immediately. No partnership can survive a country’s harboring of terrorists.”
Meanwhile, Trump asked India to do more in Afghanistan.
"We appreciate India's important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development," Trump said.
Currently, the US has about 8,400 forces in Afghanistan now.
Trump said 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.”
After almost 16 years of US presence in Afghanistan, the Taliban now controls more territory than it did when the US first entered the country.