Trump to announce new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan

by Adedotun Michael

According to White House officials, a speech by President Donald Trump outlining the United States’ “path forward” in Afghanistan has been scheduled for later today at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, CNN reports.

Trump’s address, scheduled for 9 p.m. ET Monday at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, comes as Trump and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have said a decision has been made on a new US strategy in Afghanistan.

General Mattis confirmed on Sunday a decision had been made on a new US strategy in Afghanistan but declined to offer details about the decision, saying Trump would choose the right time for the announcement.

The Secretary said, “He wants to be the one to announce it to the American people, he now needs the weekend to collect his thoughts on how he’s going to explain it to the American people. Mattis later added that the strategy covered more than Afghanistan and was a full “South Asia strategy.”

The road to the decision 

Prior to this recent development, efforts have been on top gear by Trump’s team on a new US strategy in Afghanistan for months. In June, Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he would be able to present a strategy for victory in mid-July, but the deliberations which included a wide range of options exceeded the deadline.

Contributing thoughts

Other voices during the strategy review presented their own visions for Afghanistan. Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain presented one that would involve an increase in US troops and further airstrikes, while Erik Prince – the founder of the security company Blackwater – stressed that the US should move its strategy largely over to the private sector.

The stakes

The proposed US strategy would mark the latest of many chapters in the long-running operations in Afghanistan, and a withdrawal of troops would only ensure the Taliban completes its takeover of the country. Al-Qaeda and ISIS would equally be allowed to flourish and could give way for a portal of attacks similar to, or potentially worse than, before 9/11.

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