President Trump, whose “original instinct was to pull out,” has decided against pulling out of Afghanistan.
In front of a crowd of soldiers at Fort Mayer in Arlington, VA, Trump offered a vague confirmation that, yes, the endless war in Afghanistan would continue, but, no, a strategy hasn’t been nailed down quite yet. “We are not nation-building again,” Trump said. “We are killing terrorists.”
Elaborating on his alleged strategy, Trump declared that his administration would work with the Afghan government and the recommitment “is not unlimited, and our support is not a blank check.”
Trump’s “clear definition” of a success, is, uh, actually not that clear. “Attacking our enemies; obliterating ISIS; crushing al-Qaeda; preventing the Taliban from taking over the country, and stopping mass terror attacks against Americans before they emerge,” he said.
“We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities,” Trump added. “Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on.”
Let’s talk about some other numbers. 31,1000. That’s how many civilians have died in Afghanistan since the U.S. invaded in 2001, as estimated by a Brown University study completed last year. This year is predicted to be one of the war’s deadliest, with the United Nations reporting that 1,662 civilians had been killed since the beginning of 2017.
A Pentagon report recommended sending an additional 4,000 troops into Afghanistan earlier this summer. Before Trump’s Arlington address, an administration official reportedly predicted that the White House would approve the Pentagon’s proposal.