President Donald Trump is fed up with the 16-year war in Afghanistan. NBC News reported this week that Trump made this clear to generals in a meeting last month.
Reports say he proposed firing the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. John Nicholson during the meeting.
“Trump left the national security meeting without making a decision on a strategy. His advisers were stunned,” writes NBC News, according to officials. “Two Pentagon officials close to Mattis said he returned from the White House that morning visibly upset. Mattis often takes a walk when grappling with an issue. That afternoon, the walk took longer than usual, the officials said.”
“We aren’t winning,” said Trump, according to these officials. “We are losing.”
The war has led to the deaths of 2,216 U.S. military personnel, along with tens of thousands of civilians. It hasn’t only been deadly; it has cost American taxpayers about $714 billion.
Allegedly, Trump said the U.S. should get a piece of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth in exchange for its military efforts.
“Over nearly two hours in the situation room, according to the officials, Trump complained about NATO allies, inquired about the United States getting a piece of [Afghanistan’s] mineral wealth and repeatedly said the top U.S. general there should be fired,” writes NBC News.
However, the Trump administration has yet to announce how they will be handling the situation that they inherited from the Obama administration. Afghanistan is still not stable enough to defend itself.
Jim Mattis, defense secretary did say they were close to announcing a new strategy.
“It just takes time,” said Mattis.“It wasn’t that past presidents were dumb or anything else. This is hard work, so you’ve got to get it right. That’s all there is to it.”
Mattis expressed similar sentiments to Trump and said in June that the U.S. was not winning the war.
Trump has met with those who have been fighting in Afghanistan to try to understand why the U.S. has been there for so long.
“These are people on the ground — know it probably better than anybody. We’ve been there for now close to 17 years,” said Trump “I want to find out why we’ve been there for 17 years, how it’s going, and what we should do in terms of additional ideas. I’ve heard plenty of ideas from a lot of people, but I want to hear it from the people on the ground.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House spokeswoman said that the National Security Council “continues to develop options for him that address threats and opportunities to America arising from this vital region.”
The Trump administration is prepping a plan that addresses the issues in the entire South Asia region.
“The president’s national security team is developing a comprehensive, integrated strategy for South Asia that utilizes all aspects of our national power to address this complex region,” said Michael Anton, NSC spokesman in a statement. “That strategy has been worked carefully in the interagency process and while no decision has been made the president’s team continues to develop options for him that address threats and opportunities to America arising from this vital region.”
The problem is the country isn’t focusing on becoming stable on its own, instead the focus has been on the $65 billion illegal drug market.
“By itself, Afghanistan provides 85% of the estimated global heroin and morphine supply, a near monopoly,” writes the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime.
Author’s note: The Trump administration has a tough decision to make here. If they decide to stop the bleeding and pull resources, terrorist groups could gain more power in the region. He also has a point; we can’t be spending millions to protect the country without something in return.
Editor’s note: While Afghanistan has not hit the media as much as North Korea or Syria, the whole area is a mess. It produces 80% of the world’s herion and is a hotbed of terrorist activity. Any criminal can get safe haven here and be essentially out of reach of the civilized world.