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Trump says U.S. can't afford quick Afghanistan withdrawal

By The Associated Press

This article was published August 21, 2017 at 8:29 p.m.

president-donald-trump-speaks-at-fort-myer-in-arlington-va-monday-aug-21-2017-during-a-presidential-address-to-the-nation-about-a-strategy-he-believes-will-best-position-the-us-to-eventually-declare-victory-in-afghanistan-ap-photocarolyn-kaster

President Donald Trump speaks at Fort Myer in Arlington Va., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, during a Presidential Address to the Nation about a strategy he believes will best position the U.S. to eventually declare victory in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)



WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Monday night the United States must continue fighting in Afghanistan to avoid the "predictable and unacceptable" results of a rapid withdrawal from the country where the U.S. has been at war for 16 years.

In a prime-time address to the nation, Trump said his "original instinct was to pull out," alluding to his long-expressed view before becoming president that Afghanistan was an unsolvable quagmire requiring a fast U.S. withdrawal. Since taking office, Trump said, he'd determined that approach could create a vacuum that terrorists including al-Qaida and the Islamic State could "instantly fill."

"I concluded that the security threats we face in Afghanistan and the broader region are immense," Trump said.

Though his speech was billed as an announcement of his updated Afghanistan policy, Trump offered few specifics about what it would entail. He did not provide a number of additional troops that will be sent to the war, though U.S. officials said ahead of the speech they expect him to go along with a Pentagon recommendation for nearly 4,000 new troops.

"We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities," Trump said. "Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on."

There are roughly 8,400 American forces in Afghanistan now. At its peak, the U.S. had roughly 100,000 forces there, under the Obama administration in 2010-2011.

Trump said the American people are "weary of war without victory."

"I share the America people's frustration," Trump said at the Army's Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the White House. Still, he insisted that "in the end, we will win."

Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Comments on: Trump says U.S. can't afford quick Afghanistan withdrawal

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DoubleBlind says... August 21, 2017 at 8:48 p.m.

QUICK?!? It's been 16yrs! 16yrs of failed attempts to get Afghanees to stand on their own feet. Yet every time their 'army' faces the enemy, they run like small children leaving their US-taxpayer funded weapons and artillery for the enemy to claim. Too many Americans have died there. NOT ONE MORE. Enough; it is a lost cause.

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DoubleBlind says... August 21, 2017 at 9:15 p.m.

Every American sould be outraged when Trump's typical chest-thumping rhetoric about 'winning' puts Americans on the front lines, esp when he himself never served.

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carpenterretired says... August 21, 2017 at 9:34 p.m.

Oh my no mention by the dear leader of those radical Islamic terrorists ,but sounds like digging US hole deeper in Afghanistan the graveyard of empires.

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Packman says... August 21, 2017 at 9:43 p.m.

Looks like James Mattis' influence caused President Trump's thoughts on the subject to evolve. Glad to see President Trump open to his advisors. Nice. Very nice.

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rubythecat96gmailcom says... August 21, 2017 at 10:06 p.m.

well said packman I second your sentiments. glad Trump was able to see with a clearer eye after being in the white house and situation room and changed his mind Good for him!

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DoubleBlind says... August 21, 2017 at 10:14 p.m.

Trump said the American people are "weary of war without victory." Victory in Afganistan is impossible. I'd really like to know what those who agree with him on this believe it will accomplish aside from more American deaths. I doubt they can articulate.

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PopulistMom says... August 21, 2017 at 10:47 p.m.

I have very mixed feelings about this, but I really respect McMaster and Mattis. This may our best bet against terrorism.

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DoubleBlind says... August 21, 2017 at 11:11 p.m.

Anyone on the fence that this is a good decision is woefully ignorant of the history and sacrifice over the past 16yrs and should educate himself, rather than blindly deferring to militarists who continue to enrich military contractors and the bottomless pit that is the DoD budget. It dishonors everyone who has died and those willing to do so for WORTHY causes. This does not meet that test.

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LRDawg says... August 21, 2017 at 11:17 p.m.

More Americans killed and captured. Give it up! There is no war....only $$$$$

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TimberTopper says... August 22, 2017 at 4:38 a.m.

I liked it when they replayed part of his speech and Obama's as well. His words were about the same as Obama's words. Maybe he watched the Obama speech to prepare for his own. However, another one of his campaign promises is down the tube. He gave Obama hell for what he's doing now. But, his tribe won't be bothered by this little change, they like being led. They must be and expect everyone else to be loyal to this POTUS, but they themselves were not to the previous one. Amazing what the color of ones skin can accomplish, for some people.

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