Published: Sun, August 20, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Despite High Profile Strategy Meeting, Trump Still Mulling Afghan War Decision

Despite High Profile Strategy Meeting, Trump Still Mulling Afghan War Decision

US President Donald Trump has said "many decision were taken, including on Afghanistan" at a meeting he had with top officials at a presidential retreat on Friday to review the administration's review of its South Asia policy.

"Important day spent at Camp David with our very talented Generals and military leaders. Many decisions made, including on Afghanistan", Trump tweeted on Saturday.

Trump left for Camp David on Friday, where he and his chief national security aides will discuss the path forward for the war in Afghanistan, now in its 16th year.

There are now 8,400 troops in Afghanistan, and Trump's national security adviser H.R. McMaster previously suggested sending thousands more troops to the conflict, according to a source with knowledge of the internal deliberations.

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Steve Bannon, who was officially dismissed on Friday from his post as the White House's chief strategist, has said he wants to replace USA troops in Afghanistan with private contractors.

Military and intelligence officials are concerned that a withdrawal or reduced presence of US forces would enable the Taliban to win the current standoff and would allow Al-Qaeda and a regional affiliate of the Islamic State extremist group to use Afghanistan once again as a base for plotting attacks on the United States and its allies.

Through a letter, Taliban militants has urged Trump to interact with Afghans "generously" instead of imposing war, study the "historical mistakes" of his predecessors and withdraw troops from Afghanistan completely. "At the end of the day, Afghanistan is about American homeland security - not building empires".

There was a proposal some months ago from Pentagon to send an additional 3,800 troops. He's clearly under both mounting pressure to make a decision, and pressure from Republican hawks to make it a decision to double down on the war, however, so if he didn't sign off on that, the people briefing him during the Camp David meeting would've likely discouraged him making an announcement on a "decision" to try to keep whittling down his resistance.

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