In primetime remarks Monday night, President Trump unveiled the broad strokes of a new U.S. strategy for the war in Afghanistan without offering details about changes to troop levels.
The announcement marks a turnabout for Trump, who as a private citizen once advocated for full U.S. withdrawal. Since launching his campaign in 2015, Trump has been far less vocal publicly about how the United States can best approach the now-16-year-old conflict. As my colleague Krishnadev Calamur has reported, even Afghanistan experts have been conflicted about what to do in the country, “where the conflict between the Afghan government and the Taliban is at a stalemate, where corruption continues to hamstring governance, and where regional and ethnic loyalties often trump loyalties to the central government.”
After months of deliberation, the administration finalized its Afghanistan plan on Friday at a meeting between the president and national-security officials at Camp David in Maryland. An announcement about increased troop levels had been expected, but Trump said in his remarks Monday that the administration would no longer reveal such information. Earlier this year, Trump had authorized Defense Secretary James Mattis to send nearly 4,000 additional troops to the area, but they have not yet been deployed.
Here, a full transcript of the president’s remarks.
Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Tillerson, members of the Cabinet, General Dunford, Deputy Secretary Shanahan, and Colonel Duggin. Most especially, thank you to the men and women of Fort Myer, and every member of the United States…
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