On the 21st of August, Trump announced a new strategy for resuming combat operations in Afghanistan, in a solution to end the recent stalemate between the US and Taliban insurgents, wanting to achieve victory by avoiding nation-building and ‘killing terrorists’ as stated in his speech at Fort Myer while speaking to servicemen there.
The bid to increase American presence in the Afghanistan region comes after U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis indicated to reporters on the 14th of August that the United States had several options in dealing with the region, “Including the complete withdrawal of forces, increasing the troop count, or privatizing the war through the use of military contractors at Blackwater,” according to both Breitbart and Politico.
While addressing the country at Fort Myer, President Trump stated that “In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America’s interests are clear, we must stop the resurgence of safe havens for terrorists who threaten America.” Followed by statements regarding the deployment of troops, “We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities.” Though, later that week the Pentagon came out with numbers for the reported troop figures, which estimated around an extra 2,600, bolstering the total amount of troops to roughly 11,000, which is far from the reported figure of 8,400 according to Politico.
The statements made during the address at Fort Myer shed a different light on the President, however, as it shows a sway from his previous stance on completely withdrawing from the region. “My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts,” Mr. Trump stated, “But all my life I’ve heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office; in other words when you’re President of the United States.”
In a series of tweets, President Trump is congratulated by Senator Marco Rubio on his plans for Afghanistan.
The remarks made by Trump however did not resonate well with Chabot student Jason Rodolfo, “The main issues the Middle East and Central Asia face right now are twofold: one, the consequences of centuries of foreign imperialism, and two the huge identity crisis that the mostly traditional, mostly conservative, very Islamic people of that area are having as the rest of the world moves on without them, and this makes transitioning to modern democracy incredibly difficult.” says Jason. “I do not expect any stability to come to the region anytime soon, regardless of American involvement or not, because the issues facing the region are those that no foreign involvement can understand, much less fix.”
With the war in the mountains of Afghanistan recently reaching its sixteenth year, making it officially the longest US involved conflict in history, the lack of significant progress made by previous administrations who touched the country, there seems to be no clear end in sight in the near future.