Trump unveils Afghanistan strategy, asks India to play greater role
US President Donald Trump announced that he's putting a new strategy in place for Afghanistan and South Asia. He said he'd prolong the US military intervention in Afghanistan, but didn't mention how many US troops he'll send or for how long they'll stay. He said he'll encourage India to play a greater role in Afghanistan and also warned Pakistan against supporting terrorists.
Pakistan has 'much to lose' if it doesn't support US
"We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organizations," Trump said. "We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars, at the same time, they are housing the very terrorists we are fighting ... that must change immediately." He called on India to "help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistant and development."
Trump justifies huge reversal in his stance on Afghanistan
Trump had once described the idea of increased US involvement in Afghanistan a "complete waste." Hence, his new strategy marks a huge reversal. Trump acknowledged that his "original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts." However, since becoming president, he realized that a hasty withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan would create a vacuum for terrorists to fill.
Trump's strategy a departure from Obama's time-bound troop withdrawal
Trump said: "We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists." "We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities," he said. "I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will," he promised. A "core pillar" of his strategy "is a shift from a time-based approach" to one based on ground conditions.
Trump's aim: 'Obliterate ISIS; crush al-Qaeda and stop Taliban'
Trump explained his "clear definition" for success in Afghanistan: "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." Trump said he would work with the Afghan government but warned that the US' new found "commitment is not unlimited and our support is not a blank check."
Increased US involvement could provide fresh impetus against Taliban/ISIS
Trump's latest announcement comes as Afghan troops struggle to contain a resurgent Taliban, which has mounted increasing attacks following the US troop withdrawal. Add to that, ISIS' presence and influence in Afghanistan is expanding. As Trump's speech suggests, Pakistan has done little to stop the sponsorship of Afghan terror groups from its soil. US reinforcements for Afghanistan could help turn the tide against terrorism.