President Donald Trump will announce an updated policy on the United States military’s 16-year involvement with Afghanistan during a televised address on Monday night, according to the Associated Press.
Although no major shift in policy is expected, Trump will reveal his plan at 9 P.M. Eastern from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, which is located just outside of Washington DC. Most likely, there will be an increase in the number of American troops stationed in Afghanistan.
On the campaign trail, Trump criticized the United States’ involvement in the war and expressed a desire to quickly pull troops out entirely. However, he also vowed to start winning wars. Pulling out of Afghanistan now would not constitute a victory as there has been a recent Taliban resurgence.
Preliminary statements from advisers and military officials suggest that Trump will go through with the plan that the Pentagon put out earlier this year. In addition to the 8,400 American troops currently in Afghanistan, another 4,000 soldiers would join them.
Increasing the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan could potentially help stabilize and strengthen the government against the Taliban, but it will not end the conflict.
At the moment, Afghan forces are not strong enough to hold the country without U.S. assistance. The Afghan government only controls half the country.
Increasing the number of American troops in Afghanistan could potentially help stabilize the government and make them stronger against the Taliban, but it will not end America’s 16-year involvement in the conflict. Currently, Afghan forces are not strong enough to hold the country without U.S. assistance.
The Department of State told the Associated Press that Trump will take “a new, integrated regional strategy” in regards to Afghanistan and the region as a whole. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has discussed this strategy with the Pakistani prime minister and Indian and Afghan foreign ministers.
It is expected that Trump will urge Pakistan to cease harboring Taliban leaders and treating the group’s wounded using a combination of diplomatic and economic incentives as well.
Most likely, the additional troops will continue to focus on training and advising Afghan forces, who have been unable to quash the Taliban even after 16 years of U.S. support. The military will also continue a counterterrorism operation against the Taliban and an affiliate of Islamic State that has been competing with the Taliban for control of the area.