Trump set to announce major decision on Afghanistan

21 August 2017, 06:16 | Isaac Mcdaniel

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"I am very comfortable that the strategic process was sufficiently rigorous and did not go in with a preset position".

Trump tweeted over the weekend that he had made a decision.

"The fact of the matter is that the Afghan War can not be won with the deployment of additional foreign troops nor with the current war strategy", he said, adding that triumph in this regard requires change in the war strategy and structure of the armed forces.

In a sign of Trump's frustration, the president reportedly told Mattis and General Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, they should replace General John Nicholson, who heads up USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in Afghanistan.

Officials said another option under consideration at the White House is a proposal by Erik Prince, the founder of the former Blackwater military contracting firm and the brother of Trump's education secretary, Betsy DeVos.

The White House announced Sunday that Trump will speak at 9 p.m.

President Donald Trump Monday will announce a new US strategy for the war in Afghanistan, where USA troops have been fighting for 16 years, and other parts of South Asia, the White House said Sunday.

The president, ending a working vacation at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, reached his decision on Afghanistan after lengthy talks with his top military and national security aides at Camp David, Maryland, on Friday.

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The administration has said its Afghanistan strategy will be informed by a review of its approach to the broader region, including Pakistan and India.

He is also willing to accept a negotiated settlement but first wants to beat the Taliban in the battlefield for them to work with the US-installed government in Kabul. "We are with you and we will stay with you", he said during a ceremony at Camp Morehead, a training base for Afghan commandos southeast of Kabul.

There is some speculation that the USA relationship with Pakistan has been under scrutiny during Trump's lengthy review of a new strategy and troop levels in the fight against Taliban and other militant groups in the country.

The U.S. -backed Kabul government is optimistic about a surge in American troops in the country to quell the resilient insurgency, while the Taliban militants are warning Washington against this move. Before his election, Trump had on several occasions voiced his frustration with the 16-year war.

Mattis declined to discuss specifics before Trump's announcement.

In the meantime, the Foreign Policy in its report has said that one of the reasons that draws Trump into this land-locked country is "abundant natural resources".

Senator Lindsey Graham, a senior Republican and advocate of a stronger USA role in Afghanistan, is urging Trump to "listen to his generals".

The Politico article suggests that the only Afghanistan war options on the table for President Trump on Friday were complete US withdrawal-an unlikely choice-and increasing the USA military footprint by thousands, which would mirror what Trump's predecessors have done in the past.



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