Former Obama aide: Trump made right call on Afghanistan


Former Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley told financial news network CNBC on Tuesday that President Donald J. Trump made the right decision by continuing to commit to the war in Afghanistan.

In a national address Monday evening, President Trump laid out his plan to continue preventing the Taliban from gaining a foothold in Afghanistan, and to placing pressure on its neighbor Pakistan, from stop harboring terrorists.

“From now on, victory will have a clear definition: attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing Al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America,” President Trump said in front of an audience of servicemembers in Fort Myer, Virginia.

Crowley thinks this was an apt decision and was thrilled with the president’s acknowledgment that political negotiations are still a long way off and military force is still needed.

“The most stunning aspect of the president’s speech was the acknowledgment that 16 years into this war … the prospect of a political negotiation is still a long-term challenge,” Crowley, who served in the Obama administration, said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt added that President Trump’s decisive line makes Afghanistan “his war.”

“There’s been a lot of questions for quite some time, not only among the general public but the troops, about which way we’re going in Afghanistan, and I think to a great extent he put that to rest,” said Kimmitt, who advises United States firms in the Middle East.

President Donald J Trump did not provide details on how many more troops he would dispatch or what he felt it would take to achieve victory. He did add that the resources he would be willing to pump into [the] continued fighting wouldn’t be unlimited.

“America will work with the Afghan government as long as we see determination and progress,” Trump said. “However, our commitment is not unlimited, and our support is not a blank check.”

James Carafano, vice president of foreign and defense studies at the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, lauded Trump for his purported policy, saying it puts America first.

“The fundamental principle of his foreign policy is America first. And what that means is, I’m going to put interests of the country first,” said Carafano, who worked on Trump’s transition team.

“And the interests here are really twofold: We don’t want Afghanistan to be a source of regional instability. It’s bad for us. It’s bad for our friends and allies in the region and makes our job harder. And the other is, we don’t want it to be a platform for transnational terrorism.”

Unhappy with the president’s choice to remain at war in the region, radio show host Laura Ingraham believes it’s a mistake to continue forward with a 16- year war that has produced limited results, at best.  In an interview with Fox News, the often staunch supporter of Trump said, “Many voters voted for him because he promised to get out of Afghanistan.  She continued to ask the rhetorical question, “If we couldn’t win the war with 100,000 troops, how will we win with 4,000 more?”

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