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Trump: U.S. will ‘fight to win’ in Afghanistan

Trump appears to have accepted — and rightly so — the prevailing Pentagon view that “victory” cannot be measured in traditional military terms

(National SentinelAfghanistan Strategy In a reversal of prior-held positions, President Donald J. Trump told Americans Monday evening in his first prime-time national address as commander-in-chief the United States would remain committed to battle in Afghanistan.

Pledging the nation would “fight to win,” Trump pointedly did not reveal how many more U.S. troops would be heading to the failed state, or even if more troops would be sent.

As reported by The Associated Press:

In a prime-time address to unveil his new Afghanistan strategy, Trump said Monday the U.S. would shift away from a “time-based” approach, instead linking its assistance to results and to cooperation from the beleaguered Afghan government, Pakistan and others. He insisted it would be a “regional” strategy that addressed the roles played by other South Asian nations – especially Pakistan’s harboring of elements of the Taliban.

“America will work with the Afghan government as long as we see determination and progress,” Trump said. “However, our commitment is not unlimited, and our support is not a blank check.”

Trump did not provide many details on how success would be measured going forward, much to the chagrin, even, of many supporters who are frankly tired of expending American blood and treasure in a shithole country where victory has been as elusive as Democratic Party honesty.

Still, the president appears to have accepted — and rightly so — the prevailing Pentagon view that “victory” cannot be measured in traditional military terms, since the terrorist “enemy” we are fighting is unconventional. If that terrorist enemy is building forces in Afghanistan (or anywhere else), that’s where the American military should be.

AP:

Although Trump insisted he would “not talk about numbers of troops” or telegraph military moves in advance, he hinted that he’d embraced the Pentagon’s proposal to boost troop numbers by nearly 4,000, augmenting the roughly 8,400 Americans there now. …

On one point – the definition of victory – Trump was unequivocal. He said American troops would “fight to win” by attacking enemies, “crushing” al-Qaida, preventing terror attacks against Americans and “obliterating” the Islamic State group, whose affiliate has gained a foothold in Afghanistan as the U.S. squeezes the extremists in Syria and Iraq.

“We will ask our NATO 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,” Trump said in comments echoed by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

The Afghan government, at least, was pleased.

“We heard exactly what we needed to,” Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib, the Afghan envoy to Washington, said in a phone interview. “The focus on the numbers has taken away the real focus on what should have been: what conditions are required and what kind of support is necessary.” He gave Trump’s speech a “10 out of 10.”

“I share the America people’s frustration,” Trump said. But he insisted, “In the end, we will win.”

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