Trump says US will fight to win in Afghanistan

Posted at 4:00 PM, Aug 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-22 00:15:12-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and U.S. policy in Afghanistan.

9:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump says U.S. troops "will fight to win" in Afghanistan. And he's using his prime-time address to the nation to offer a "clear definition" of victory.

Trump says victory in Afghanistan will mean "attacking our enemies" and "obliterating" the Islamic State group. He's also vowing to crush al-Qaeda, prevent the Taliban from taking over the country, and stopping terror attacks against Americans.

Trump is discussing his strategy in Afghanistan, and noting the frustration that many Americans have about the 16-year war.


9:18 p.m.

President Donald Trump says his new strategy on Afghanistan will be based on conditions on the ground, not timing.

The president says in an address to the nation that he will not "talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities."

Trump is outlining the pillars of his strategy to address Afghanistan and the South Asia region. He says the U.S. is not about nation building, but rather, "we are killing terrorists."


9:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the U.S. needs a plan for "and honorable and enduring outcome" in Afghanistan.

He says a rapid exit would have unacceptable consequences.

Trump says, "a hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum" that the Islamic State group and al-Qaida would fill.

The president was making a rare, nationally televised address late Monday on his strategy for what is America's longest war.

Trump says his original instinct was to pull out of Afghanistan, but he shifted his view after studying the issue "from every conceivable angle."


9:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he shares the frustration of Americans with the nation's long war in Afghanistan.

Trump says in an address to the nation that his "original instinct was to pull out," but he reached a different conclusion after studying the issue once he was in the Oval Office.

Trump says the United States must seek "an honorable and enduring outcome" worthy of the sacrifices in the region.

He says a hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists would instantly fill.

Trump spoke during a prime-time address on his plan for handling the 16-year conflict in Afghanistan.


6:35 p.m.

A leader of the GOP's non-interventionist wing says it's a "terrible idea" to send any more American troops to Afghanistan.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky issued a statement ahead of a prime-time address by President Donald Trump to unveil his updated Afghanistan policy. It is expected to include a few thousand more U.S. forces.

Paul says the mission in Afghanistan "has lost its purpose."

He also wants Congress to more aggressively assert its war-making powers. Paul is planning to propose an amendment next month to the annual defense policy bill that would repeal the war authorizations that Congress granted after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Paul says if the White House and Congress "want to continue the war in Afghanistan, then at the very least Congress should vote on it."


2:50 p.m.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has spoken with key officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India as President Donald Trump prepares to unveil his new strategy for the Afghan war.

Tillerson spoke to the Pakistani prime minister and the Indian and Afghan foreign ministers on Monday. The State Department says they discussed how the U.S. can work with the countries on a new regional strategy to stabilize South Asia.

Trump is scheduled to deliver a prime-time address at 9 p.m. EDT on his plan for handling the 16-year conflict.


7:30 a.m.

Sen. Tim Kaine says the United States needs to "make sure that Afghanistan is not a breeding ground for things that can come back and hurt us."

Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday in advance of President Donald Trump's primetime speech on Afghanistan, Kaine was asked what is at stake in the war-torn nation, where the United States is in its 16th year of involvement.

"I think the answer is we want to be invested, to put it bluntly," said Kaine, a Democrat who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He said U.S. officials should make certain that "what happens in Afghanistan stays in Afghanistan."

Kaine says the country needs a discussion of "the continuing rationale" for being in Afghanistan.


3:19 a.m.

President Donald Trump will use a nationally televised address to outline for a war-weary nation the strategy he believes will best position the U.S. to eventually declare victory in Afghanistan after 16 years of combat and lives lost.

The speech Monday night will also give Trump a chance for a reset after one of the most difficult weeks of his short presidency.

Trump tweeted Saturday that he had reached a decision on the way forward in Afghanistan, a day after he reviewed war options with his national security team at a meeting at Camp David, Maryland. The president offered no clues about whether he would send thousands more U.S. troops into Afghanistan or exercise his authority as commander in chief to order that they be withdrawn from America's longest war.

But signs pointed in the direction of Trump continuing the U.S. commitment there.