In his prime-time address to the nation at a military base near Washington, US President Donald Trump said his new approach was aimed at preventing Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for Islamist militants bent on attacking the United States.
His address primarily focused on the South-Asian region and their combined battle with terror. He also highlighted the US’s relations with India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in this respect.
Here’s what he said on the three countries:
Trump on India
Asking India to help in the region, Trump said the US will further strengthen its strategic partnership with India. “India makes billions of dollars in trade from US and must do more in Afghanistan,” he said.
Trump on Pakistan
Hitting out at Pakistan for giving “safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror”, Trump said,
US can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organisations, the Taliban and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond.
It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to fight terror, he added.
Trump has long been skeptical about how the United States is fighting the war in Afghanistan, which was launched by President George W Bush in October 2001 after the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington.
Trump on Afghanistan
Talking about the presence of US troops in Afghanistan, he said that a rapid exit from Afghanistan is unacceptable and would leave a power vacuum if the US does that. He said the US needs a path for 'victory'.
We want Afghanistan to succeed... military peace alone will not bring peace to Afghanistan.
Also talking about the US military’s commitment towards weeding out terror, Trump insisted that ‘commitment is not unlimited, our support is not a blank cheque’.
Trump announced a strategic review soon after taking office in January and has privately questioned whether sending more troops is wise, US officials said.
"We're not winning," he told advisers in a July meeting, questioning whether US Army General John Nicholson, who leads US and international forces in Afghanistan, should be fired, an official said.
But Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has argued that a US military presence is needed to protect against a continuing threat from Islamist militants.
Earlier this year, Trump gave Mattis the authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan.
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