President Trump addressed the nation regarding the future of the American occupation of Afghanistan, a prolonged military conflict started in 2001 that has become the longest war the United States has ever fought. In his address, President Trump told the country he plans to continue the occupation in order to keep a power vacuum – like the one that allowed ISIS to recruit and grow – from forming.
Many consider this to be an example of the president abandoning his base. However, Trump’s decision mirrors the policy he told CNN in October of 2015.
“Donald Trump said Tuesday he believes that invading Afghanistan in 2001 was a ‘terrible mistake,’ but he added U.S. troops need to stay in order to avoid a collapse of the government.
‘We made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place,’ Trump said. ‘It’s a mess, it’s a mess and at this point we probably have to (leave U.S. troops in Afghanistan) because that thing will collapse in about two seconds after they leave.'”
President Trump also pledged that the United States will no longer broadcast its troop numbers or strike plans to the enemy, will no longer be “nation-building” in Afghanistan, and will no longer tell the people of Afghanistan “how to live.”
He said the United States will be an ally in the Afghanistan government’s fight against radical Islamic terrorism, and then brought the country’s attention to Pakistan.
“They are housing the very terrorists we are fighting,” said Trump, “but that will have to change, and that will have to change immediately.”
He continued, “it is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, to order, and to peace.”
This comes less than one week after President Trump proposed the United States discontinue all foreign aid to Pakistan.
Additionally, Trump said it will become part of the United States’ foreign policy to unite with India’s conservative government, led by Prime Minster Narendra Modi, who has been deemed India’s version of President Trump.
Throughout the speech, Trump pledged “swift, decisive, and overwhelming force” and that “our troops will fight to win” the war against terrorism.
He also pledged that Afghanistan will build its own nation and determine its own future, and reiterated that the United States will not build its country nor force democracy on its inhabitants.