After news broke that Steve Bannon would no longer be advising the president in the White House, President Donald Trump retreated to Camp David to discuss policy with his national security team.
At a time when Trump badly needs a distraction, he may actually have one now. Reuters reported Trump will be announcing his decision on the direction America will go in regards to Afghanistan. That comes from the mouth of the Defense Secretary Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis himself. He told reporters:
‘I am very comfortable that the strategic process was sufficiently rigorous and did not go in with a pre-set position. The president has made a decision. As he said, he wants to be the one to announce it to the American people, so I will stand silent until then.’
No decision had been made as of Friday; however, Trump tweeted that decisions were made Saturday.
‘Important day spent at Camp David with our very talented Generals and military leaders. Many decisions made, including on Afghanistan.’
Important day spent at Camp David with our very talented Generals and military leaders. Many decisions made, including on Afghanistan.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2017
Two of the options presented to Trump during the meeting included completely withdrawing from Afghanistan or increasing troops. With that said, an anonymous official reported the favorite plan of Trump’s aides was sending MORE troops in.
‘One U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Trump’s top national security aides are backing adding between 3,000 and 5,000 troops and allowing them to embed with Afghan forces closer to combat.’
If Trump believes he’ll have universal support, he will be forced to think again. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD.), the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, appeared on Fox News Sunday and announced he would not support increasing troops.
‘Well, I don’t know if I’m in agreement with the president because I haven’t heard what the president’s plan is in Afghanistan. I haven’t seen an articulated strategy.
‘Should we put more military in? Again, this is not the U.S. fight. I don’t believe putting more American soldiers in Afghanistan is the answer. We really do need to work to fill the void so voids don’t- are created – are not created so that there’s opportunity for Afghanistan to have a stable central government.’
What Cardin refers to is the fact that, without help of stabilizing a central government for the Afghan people, extremist groups, such as ISIS, could take back over. Currently, Afghanistan is still extremely unstable.
‘According to U.S. estimates, government forces control less than 60 percent of Afghanistan, with almost half the country either contested or under the control of the insurgents.’
Less than half of the country is controlled by a central government. Thus, the need for American diplomacy to help aid stabilization is understandably needed. However, with Trump’s own country already in turmoil after the past several weeks of bigoted riots, it’s hard to imagine how anyone could want the help of the U.S., not to mention, the U.S. has been in Afghanistan for over 15 years.
Trump’s announcement will air on Monday at 9 p.m. ET and will also include information related to South Asia.
Featured image by Zach Gibson – Pool/Getty Images.