President Trump’s doubt about the Afghanistan war has led to delays in strategy and a suggestion that the U.S. military commander in the region should be fired.
According to Reuters, President Trump demanded more information on what was called “the end-state” from his top national security aides at a July 19 meeting in the White House Situation Room. The “end-state” is in reference to a country where the United States has spent 16 years fighting against the Taliban with no end in sight.
Things got awry when the president said Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford, should consider firing Army General John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, for not winning the war.
Trump said, “We aren’t winning”.
Some officials were said to have left the meeting “stunned” by the president’s vehement complaints that the military was allowing the United States to lose the war. White House officials say Mattis and McMaster have been working on answers to Trump’s questions so he can approve the strategy in no time.
Delay surrounding the strategy has also delayed the defense secretary’s plans to deploy the approved 4000 troops to the 8400 already in Afghanistan. “It’s been contingent all along informally on the strategy being approved,” a senior administration official said of the troop deployment”.
Trump has expressed little interest in deploying military forces without a specific plan on what they will do and for how long. Another meeting of top aides is scheduled on Thursday.