Trump commits to open-ended Afghan war, NATO praises move
United States President Donald Trump has committed the U.S. to an open-ended conflict in Afghanistan, reversing course from his campaign pledges and signaling he will send troops to America's longest war in "a fight to win," a move that was praised by NATO and Afghan authorities.
Trump offered few specifics in a speech on Aug. 21 but promised a stepped-up military campaign against Taliban insurgents who have gained ground against U.S.-backed Afghan government forces. He also singled out Pakistan for harboring militants in safe havens on its soil.
"We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists," he said in a prime-time televised address at a military base outside Washington, while declining to put a timeline on expanded U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.
"Our troops will fight to win," he said, adding that "no place is beyond the reach of American arms."
The Taliban swiftly condemned Trump's decision, vowing to continue "jihad" until all U.S. soldiers are gone.
"If the U.S. does not pull all its forces out of Afghanistan, we will make this country the 21st century graveyard for the American empire," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.
"As long as there is one U.S. soldier in our land, and they continue to impose war on us, we, with a high morale will continue our jihad," he added.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Aug. 22 welcomed Trump's move, saying the alliance would not let the country become a haven for terrorists.
"Our aim remains to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists who would attack our own countries," he said in a statement.
Stoltenberg reiterated that NATO had transferred security responsibilities to...