Trump on Afghanistan Strategy: 'Our Troops Will Fight to Win'

August 21, 2017

President Donald Trump declared Monday night during a primetime address that the United States must continue fighting in Afghanistan and that withdrawing would lead to "predictable and unacceptable" results.

Trump said that after meeting with his generals and cabinet officials during a meeting at Camp David on Friday, he reached three fundamental conclusions about the interests of the United States in Afghanistan.

"Our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives. The men and women who serve our nation in combat deserve a plan for victory. They deserve the tools they need and the trust they have earned to fight and to win," Trump said.

Trump said that the second conclusion that he made after the meeting was that the consequences of a rapid exit from Afghanistan would lead to "predictable and unacceptable" results.

"Third and finally, I concluded that the security threats we face in Afghanistan and our broader region are immense," Trump said. "Today, 20 U.S.-designated foreign terrorists organizations are active in Afghanistan and Pakistan.’

Trump went on to tout the U.S. military's success in delivering results on defeating ISIS, including the liberation of Mosul in Iraq.

"Since my inauguration we have achieved record-breaking success in that regard," Trump said. "We will also maximize sanctions and other financial and law enforcement actions against these networks to eliminate their ability to export terror. When America commits its warriors to battle, we must ensure they have every weapon to employ swift, decisive and overwhelming force."

Trump emphasized that the U.S. military's objective in Afghanistan will be "fight[ing] to win."

"From now on victory will have a clear definition: Attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks before they emerge," Trump said. "We'll ask our allies and global partners to support our new strategy with additional troop and funding increases in line with our own. We are confident they will."

Later in his speech, Trump called out Pakistan for harboring terrorists and sent a strong message to Afghanistan and other countries that the United States will no longer be a nation-building country, but rather focused on "killing terrorists."

Trump concluded his remarks by saying that America's support for the Afghan government is not a "blank check" and that the American people expect to see "real reforms" and "real results" in the country.