Washington: The US has said there is no time table for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan with President Donald Trump asserting that America will pursue an “honourable and enduring” outcome in the war-torn country.
Trump, who ruled out a hasty withdrawal of troops while announcing his Afghanistan and South Asia policy, said in all foreign policy decisions his administration will always put the safety and security of Americans first.
“We will pursue an honourable and enduring outcome in Afghanistan, worthy of the tremendous sacrifice our troops have already made. We will give our men and women in uniform the tools they need and the trust they have earned to fight and to win,” he told a crowd of veterans at an American Legion conference in Reno, Nevada.
Trump’s remarks come just days after he said it has been decided that the American strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia would change dramatically and American troops would “fight to win”.
Trump, in his first prime-time televised address as commander-in-chief, had also issued the sternest warning yet by an American leader to Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists and sought an enhanced role for India in bringing peace in the war-ravaged country.
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that there was no time table for withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“As the President said many times before, he’s not going to set a timetable. He’s looking at not repeating the mistakes of the previous administrations on this front, and going to rely heavily on the generals and the folks on the ground and the conditions to determine when the right time is to remove from Afghanistan,” she said in response to a question.
Any announcement on the troop level increase in Afghanistan would be made by the department of defence, she said.
“I know that the department of defence will be taking the primary lead on that, and they have stated that they are actively moving forward,” Sanders said.
However, an Indian American congressman from Silicon Valley, Ro Khanna, called for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
“The Democrats should be clear and bold: We are for withdrawal,” he told Vox.
“We should not hedge by issuing jargon-filled statements that call for additional hearings, a better strategy, or more careful review. After 16 years of that kind of muddled thinking, people expect their elected leaders to take a firm stand,” he said.
“This isn’t that complicated. Either you’re for increasing troops, keeping the status quo indefinitely, or for getting out. We should be for getting out,” Khanna said.
Congressman Adam Kinzinger said the war in Afghanistan was different from the ones US has been involved in earlier as it was a “generational war on terror”.