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Trump Lays Out Strategic Vision for US War in Afghanistan

© AP Photo / Carolyn KasterPresident Donald Trump speaks at Fort Myer in Arlington Va., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, during a Presidential Address to the Nation about a strategy he believes will best position the U.S. to eventually declare victory in Afghanistan.
President Donald Trump speaks at Fort Myer in Arlington Va., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, during a Presidential Address to the Nation about a strategy he believes will best position the U.S. to eventually declare victory in Afghanistan. - Sputnik International
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Three days after meeting with top diplomatic, economic, and national security officials at Camp David to discuss a forward-looking strategy in South Asia, particularly in Afghanistan, US President Donald Trump addressed the nation from Fort Meyer in Arlington, Virginia.

"We will not talk about numbers of troops," Trump said, noting, "America's enemies must never know our plan." Trump was widely expected to announce a troop surge but instead offered a number of vague details that includes authorizing more power to "target the terrorist and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan," he said.

Trump said it would be "possible" to eventually negotiate a political settlement with the Taliban — even thought previous administrations have said the US will never negotiate with terrorists. Trump noted that it will be important to cooperate with the governments of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India in order to bring stability to the region. 

"We can no longer be silent" about Pakistan's cooperation with the Taliban. "In the past, Pakistan has been a valued partner… but Pakistan has also sheltered the same organizations that attempt every day to kill our people." No partnership with Islamabad can survive the harboring of armed factions, Trump said, adding that it's about time for Pakistan to show a commitment to civilization, order and peace. 

Trump wants New Delhi to assist with diplomatic and economic measures against terrorist forces in the region, particularly by pressuring Islamabad to decrease cooperation with terror groups.

Trump called his vision "principled realism" and called on Kabul to produce more economic support for US efforts in addition to reforming its government.  Critics have noted that despite hyping up the speech the President's address was surprisingly thin on policy details. 

"We are not nation building again. We are killing terrorists," Trump said. 

 

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