In an evening televised address from Fort Myer, Va., President Donald Trump unveiled a long-awaited strategy with regard to the war in Afghanistan, dubbed “a path forward for America’s engagement in Afghanistan and South Asia” on Monday night.
Speaking before an assembled crowd of service members, President Trump acknowledged that the “American people are weary of war without victory,” and delivered a full-throated endorsement of achieving “an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the sacrifices that have been made.”
Explicitly forgoing specifics on troop numbers or battlefield plans, Trump doubled down on America’s commitment to Afghanistan, but did so with a distinct and powerful caveat that “we are not nation building again, we are killing terrorists.”
Saying his “original instinct was to pull out,” Trump acknowledged that “decisions are much different when you are President of the United States.” He went on to say that through consultation with his military advisors, he had reached three fundamental conclusions which informed the strategy being presented. First, an enduring victory is necessary to honor the sacrifices that have been made over the last 16 years. Second, citing Iraq as the prime example: a hasty withdraw from Afghanistan would be unacceptable, leading to a security vacuum that would be filled by terrorist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda. And third, the myriad security threats in Afghanistan and South Asia necessitate a continued commitment.