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Local Lawmakers React To Trump’s Afghan Policy

Posted On August 22, 2017

By Mike Perleberg

President Donald Trump. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

(Arlington, VA) – Tri-state lawmakers are weighing in on President Donald Trump’s new policy for America’s military involvement in Afghanistan.

In statements at Fort Myer in Virginia on Monday, Trump remarked that the United States must seek an honorable and enduring outcome in its longest war.

“A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists including ISIS and Al Qaeda would instantly fill just as happened before September 11,” Trump said.

He added that his initial instinct was to pull U.S. troops from Afghanistan, but he now believes the situation will only get worse if that happens. Trump emphasized that conditions on the ground will guide U.S. strategy from now on, not timetables. Trump didn’t talk about troop numbers, but there are reports about an increase of about 4,000 troops to the area. That’s a little short of a 50-percent increase.

The policy is in stark contract to Trump’s campaign assertions that the 16-year-long conflict is a “complete waste.”

Indiana U.S. Senator Todd Young was among many Republicans who cheered Trump’s announcement.

“I’m glad the President outlined his approach to Afghanistan and explained to the American people why continued vigilance enhances our security and protects our way of life. I look forward to studying his strategy more closely,” Young said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Indiana’s Democratic U.S. Senator, Joe Donnelly, said he hopes the President comes to Congress with a clear strategy to achieve that goal.

“The mission in Afghanistan should be based on conditions on the ground, where the Taliban and ISIS threaten the stability of the country and U.S. national security interests. It is critically important that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists like those who planned the 9/11 attacks and those who wish to do our country and our allies harm,” Donnelly said.

Perhaps the most vocal critic of Trump’s new Afghanistan strategy is a member of his own political party. Northern Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie, a Republican, laid into the President on Twitter. Just some of Massie’s tweets:

In his address, Trump put other countries in the region on notice, saying he expects them to increase their involvement towards a solution in Afghanistan. He said it’s time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to peace and India should devote more financial assistance to Afghanistan.

With regards to the Afghan government, Trump said the U.S. supports it, but that support is neither limitless nor a blank check.