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Trump still weighing new Afghan war strategy

Trump still weighing new Afghan war strategy

Aug 19, 2017 - 07:35

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Despite several hours of talks with his aides, President Donald Trump has yet again postponed announcing his much-awaited new strategy for the war in Afghanistaninfo-icon.

In an attempt to fix the deteriorating situation in the war-torn country, the president had a long huddle with national security and foreign policy advisors at his Camp David retreat on Friday.

Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser HR McMaster and Vice President Pence attended the meeting.

Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford and US Ambassador to United Nations Nikki Haley also participated in the meeting through a secured video conference. The South Asia Strategy involves both India and Pakistaninfo-icon.

After the talks, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was studying and considering his options for a new approach to Afghanistan and the broader South Asia region.

In a brief statement, she said Trump had been briefed extensively on a new strategy to protect America's interests in the region. The press secretary, however, did not specifically mention Afghanistan.

Seven months into his tenure, Trump is yet fashion a new approach to the 16-year-old war, which America’s top military commander Gen. John Nicholson has described as a stalemate.

Steve Bannon, the White House chief strategist who was ousted on Friday, and Central Command chief General Joseph Votel -- responsible for US military operations in Afghanistan -- were did not attend the talks.

Meanwhile Senator Lindsay Graham urged Trump not to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. “If we were to pull all our troops from Afghanistan it would be a disaster for our national security interests and set the stage for another 9/11 on American soil.”

Graham hoped Trump, unlike his predecessor, would not put the US military in a bad spot in Afghanistan.  “He should give them the tools and support they need to confront the rising terror threats in Afghanistan …”

Mattis and McMaster support sending 3,000 to 5,000 additional troops to Afghanistan to combat the Talibaninfo-icon, but Bannon had opposed the option.


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