In his remarks last night, President Donald Trump outlined the Administration’s new strategy for engagement in Afghanistan and South Asia. Acknowledging the 17 year war in Afghanistan, the President stressed that the new strategy “must seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives.” The new strategy will focus on the security challenges faced not only in Afghanistan, but across the South Asia region, and will “integrate all instruments of American power -- diplomatic, economic, and military -- toward a successful outcome.”
During his speech, President Trump highlighted core pillars to the new approach: a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions; the integration of diplomatic, economic and military tools; a change in regional engagement with Pakistan and India; and expanded authority for American armed forces to target terrorist and criminal networks.
The President also emphasized that the United States will continue to work with the Afghan government and military. “The stronger the Afghan security forces become, the less we will have to do. Afghans will secure and build their own nation and define their own future. We want them to succeed.”
In a statement released shortly after the President’s remarks concluded, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson elaborated on the President’s integrated strategy and the need for diplomatic engagement with Pakistan, Afghanistan and India to create the conditions for stability in the region. In his statement, Secretary Tillerson underscored that the United States will continue to support the Afghan government and security forces in their fight against terrorists and prevent the reestablishment of safe havens in the country.
“We stand ready to support peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban without preconditions. We look to the international community, particularly Afghanistan’s neighbors, to join us in supporting an Afghan peace process.”
– U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
Editor’s Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State's publication on Medium.com.
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