The efforts in Afghanistan to combat terrorism have been hobbled since President Obama ordered the withdrawal of tens of thousands of American troops. President Trump is addressing that matter, and his efforts are being hailed by military experts.
In August, President Trump announced a new military strategy for Afghanistan involving 3,000 additional US troops. According to The Daily Mail, four-star General John Nicholson Jr. said the strategy would be successful. “We are still in a stalemate,” he said, but noted the strategy included “all the conditions to win.”
The 3,000 additional troops would increase the Afghan-positioned US forces to a total of 11,000. The strategy is a measure to bolster the efforts in Afghanistan, which have suffered in recent years. The presence of US forces in Afghanistan has declined drastically since 2011 when it had 100,000 troops assigned there.
Then, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said of the strategy: “This entire effort is intended to put pressure on the Taliban, to have the Taliban understand ‘you will not win a battlefield victory.’”
The extra troops could strengthen the US-backed Afghanistan government to put enough pressure on the Taliban to finally push them to peace negotiations. The withdrawal of US forces has allowed the Taliban to broaden their hold on territory in the face of a weak Afghan government.
“’This change in policy has reversed this decline that we’ve been in since 2011,” Gen. Nicholson said. He added that troops were withdrawn far too quickly. “We communicated to the enemy that we had lost our will to win, and now with a new policy as of August, we are going to win. And winning means delivering a negotiated settlement that reduces the level of violence and protecting the homeland.”
Just a few months ago, President Trump was reportedly frustrated with the lack of progress in Afghanistan and even considered firing Gen. Nicholson. When he learned of the insufficient resources, he quickly released the strategy. Gen. Nicholson said that President Trump has delivered “everything I asked for.”
“We are only 90 days into this new policy,” Gen. Nicholson added, “but with the US forces that will be arriving; with the new authority that we have been given [to] put the pressure on external enablers; with the fact that we are condition based and not time-based, we’ve set all the conditions to win.”
President Trump reportedly has full confidence in Gen. Nicholson’s duties. In a recent conference call to US soldiers positioned in Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, Bahrain, and those stationed on USS Monterey, President Trump wished the soldiers a “Happy Thanksgiving” and thanked them for their progress, which has been more successful against ISIS than in numerous years of the Obama administration.
“We’re not fighting anymore to just walk around, we’re fighting to win,” President Trump said. “We’re being talked about again as an armed forces. We’re really winning.”
Former President Barack Obama’s decision to pull US troops from Afghanistan compromised the effectiveness of the efforts to defeat the Taliban. Is President Trump right to increase the US presence in that field of battle?
He went on to tell the troops they were “very, very special people” to him and all of America. “We totally support you. In fact, we love you … You’re in a very different part of the world than you’re used to but boy are you doing a job there, and thank God for you.”
President Trump has expressed that the US military is one of his top priorities, and his efforts continue to evidence that. Hopefully, the latest strategy will help US forces help the Afghan government finally see success as a result of their efforts and sacrifices.