President Donald Trump is going to announce that he will send 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan, as he has finally made a strategy decision regarding the 16-year war against the Taliban there, a senior official has told Fox News.
This announcement comes in advance of Trump’s national address to the country Monday night, which is scheduled for 9 p.m. EST.
If this is the case, Trump will become the third president to surge troops to the Middle East in the past 16 years.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted it was an “important day spent at Camp David with our very talented Generals and military leaders. Many decisions made, including on Afghanistan.”
Over the weekend, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the President had made a decision about the strategy moving forward in Afghanistan, after “rigorous” review; but he would not mention any details, saying the President wanted to announce it himself.
Despite reports in June that the U.S. could send an additional 4,000 troops to Afghanistan, President Trump was reportedly considering doing the exact opposite, and removing all troops from the country.
Trump reportedly doesn’t want to be constricted by deadlines and specific numbers in the fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan, which has been ongoing for 16 years.
Instead, the administration might reportedly reduce the number of troops there and rely more on U.S. special forces and drones.
Trump in June gave Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the Department of Defense the power to decide whether or not, and how many, additional American troops would be sent to Afghanistan. The bulk of such a deployment would train and advise Afghans, while some would be assigned to counterterrorism missions against the Taliban and Islamic State.
There are currently about 8,400 troops in the country. Trump would be the third President in 16 years to surge troops into Afghanistan.
In 2012, Trump tweeted: “Why are we continuing to train these Afghanis who then shoot our soldiers in the back? Afghanistan is a complete waste. Time to come home!”