By: Lakeem Khodra
On Monday night President Donald Trump spoke on the issue of Afghanistan in Fort Myer in Arlington Virginia at a military base.
Join me live from Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2017
President Trump lays out Afghanistan strategy:
The threats we face and the confronting of all of the problems of today and extremely predictable consequences of a hasty withdrawal, we need look no further than last week’s vile vicious attack in Barcelona to understand that terror groups will stop at nothing to commit the mass murder of innocent men, women and children… you saw it for yourself, horrible.
As I outlined in my speech in Saudi Arabia three months ago, America and our partners are committed to stripping terrorists of their territory, cutting off their funding and exposing the false allure of their evil ideology. Terrorists who slaughter innocent people will find no glory in this life or the next. They are nothing but thugs and criminals and predators and that’s right losers.
Working alongside our allies we will break their will, dry up their recruitment, keep them from crossing our borders and yes we will defeat them and we will defeat them handily. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America’s interests are clear… we must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists who threaten America and we must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists and being used against us or anywhere in the world for that matter 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 it many times… how counterproductive it is for the United States to announce in advance the dates we intend to begin or end military options. We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities, conditions on the ground not arbitrary timetables will guide our strategy from now on. America’s enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out. I will not say when we are going to attack but attack we will.
Another fundamental pillar of our new strategy is the integration of all instruments of American power… diplomatic, economic and military toward a successful outcome. Someday after an effective military effort, perhaps it will be possible to have a political settlement that includes elements of the Taliban and Afghanistan but nobody knows if or when that will ever happen.
American will continue it’s support for the Afghan government and the Afghan military as they confront the Taliban in the field. Ultimately it is up to the people of Afghanistan to take ownership of their future, to govern their society and to achieve ever lasting peace, we are a partner and a friend but we will not dictate to the Afghan people how to live or how to govern their own complex society. We are not nation-building again, we are killing terrorists.
The next pillar of our new strategy is to change the approach and how to deal with 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 criminals and terrorists, in the past Pakistan has been a valued partner, our militaries have worked together against common enemies. The Pakistani people have suffered greatly from terrorism and extremism, we recognize those contributions and those sacrifices but Pakistan has also sheltered the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people. We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting but that will have to change and that will change immediately.
No partnership can survive a countries harboring of militants and terrorists who target US service members and officials. It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate it’s commitment to civilization, order and to peace.
Another critical part of the South Asia strategy for America is to further develop it’s strategic partnership with India… the world’s largest democracy and a key security and economic partner of the United States. We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development.
We are committed to pursuing our shared objectives for peace and security in South Asia and the broader Indo Pacific region. 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 and work effectively.