Trump Rules out Afghan Troops Withdrawal
Albanian Daily News
Published August 22, 2017
President Donald Trump has said a hasty US withdrawal from Afghanistan would leave a vacuum for terrorists to fill.
He said his original instinct was to pull US forces out, but had instead decided to stay and "fight to win" - avoiding the mistakes made in Iraq.
He said he wanted to shift from a time-based approach in Afghanistan to one based on conditions on the ground, adding he would not set out deadlines.
However, the US president warned it was not a "blank cheque" for Afghanistan.
"America will work with the Afghan government, so long as we see commitment and progress," he said.
The Taliban responded by saying that Afghanistan would become "another graveyard" for the US if it did not withdraw its troops.
Mr Trump also warned Pakistan that the US would no longer tolerate the country offering "safe havens" to extremists, saying the country had "much to lose" if it did not side with the Americans.
"We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars - at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting," he said.
The accusation was quickly dismissed by a Pakistani army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor, who told reporters "there are no terrorist hideouts in Pakistan".
Meanwhile, Mr Trump made it clear he expects his existing allies to support him in his new strategy, telling them he wanted them to raise their countries' contributions "in line with our own".
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis indicated in a statement "several" US allies had already "committed to increasing their troop numbers".
His UK counterpart, Sir Michael Fallon, said America's commitment in Afghanistan was "very welcome", adding: "We have to stay the course in Afghanistan to help build up its fragile democracy and reduce the terrorist threat to the West."
deployed. He had been expected to say another 4,000 would be sent to Afghanistan, the number General John Nicholson, the top US military commander in the country, requested.
Criticising previous administrations, he said: "We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans."
However, Mr Trump said there would be an escalation in the battle against groups like al-Qaeda and so-called Islamic State.
"[They] need to know they have nowhere to hide - that no place is beyond the reach of American arms," he said.