Washington DC: After having studying Afghanistan in great detail and from every angle and following many meetings, over many months, the US President Donald Trump held a final meeting last Friday at Camp David, with his Cabinet and Generals, to complete the US strategy vis-a-vis Afghanistan.
Trump has concluded that the security threats in Afghanistan and the broader region are immense.
Today twenty U.S. designated foreign terrorist organizations are active in Afghanistan and Pakistan – the highest concentration in any region of the world. For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror. The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear-armed states whose tense relations threaten to spiral into conflict….India and we will win.-Donald Trump
Shortly after his inauguration, Trump had directed the US Secretary of Defense Mattis and his national security team to undertake a comprehensive review of all strategic options in Afghanistan and South Asia.
Trump gave a Presidential address to the nation on Monday (21 August 2017). He said that presently twenty U.S. designated foreign terrorist organizations are active in Afghanistan and Pakistan – the highest concentration in any region of the world. For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror. The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear-armed states whose tense relations threaten to spiral into conflict.
In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America’s interests are clear: we must stop the re-emergence of safe-havens that enable terrorists to threaten America; and we must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists and being used against us.
But to prosecute this war, we will learn from history. 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. I’ve said many times how counterproductive it is for the United States to announce in advance the dates we intend to begin, or end, military operations. We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities.
The next pillar of our new strategy is a change in our approach to Pakistan. We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond. Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor terrorists.
Finally, my administration will ensure that you, the brave defenders of the American people, will have the necessary tools and rules of engagement to make this strategy work.
That’s why we will also expand authority for American armed forces to target the terrorist and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan. These killers need to know they have nowhere to hide – that no place is beyond the reach of American arms…
We will also maximize sanctions and other financial and law enforcement actions against these networks, to eliminate their ability to export terror.
Our troops 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 the country, and stopping mass terror attacks against Americans before they emerge.
The stronger the Afghan security forces become the less we will have to do. Afghans will secure and build their own nation, and define their own future. We want them to succeed.