U.S. President Donald Trump will outline the United States’ “path forward” in Afghanistan in a speech Monday night.
Trump will “provide an update on the path forward for America’s engagement in Afghanistan and South Asia” in an address to be delivered at 0100 UTC Tuesday from the military base at Fort Myer southwest of the capital, the White House said in a statement.
Trump to Detail Changes to Afghan Policy:
On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Trump had made a decision on the new strategy in Afghanistan, but he did not disclose any details.
Mattis said the strategy covered more than Afghanistan, that it was a full “South Asia strategy.”
Signaling that the U.S. military expects its mission to continue, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson, on Sunday hailed the launch of the Afghan Army’s new special operations corps, declaring that “we are with you and we will stay with you.”
Afghanistan has been the subject of significant debate within the Trump administration. The president has been skeptical about a victory there. “I want to find out why we’ve been there for 17 years,” he told reporters at one point.
In June, Mattis told a Senate panel: “We are not winning in Afghanistan.”
The panel’s chair, Arizona Republican John McCain, challenged Mattis on the subject.
“We want a strategy, and I don’t think that’s a hell of a lot to ask,” McCain said. “We’re now six months into this administration. We still haven’t got a strategy for Afghanistan. It makes it hard for us to support you when we don’t have a strategy.”
The Pentagon has been awaiting a final announcement by Trump on a proposal to send nearly 4,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.