President Donald Trump said on Monday that he has a plan capable of winning the war in Afghanistan in just a week, but won’t execute it due to the casualties it would inflict.
“If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win that war in a week. I just don’t want to kill 10 million people,” Trump told reporters on Monday in the Oval Office. “I have plans on Afghanistan that if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the earth. It would be gone. It would be over in — literally in 10 days. And I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to go that route.”
Watch his remarks in the video below:
Trump was meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday, and added that Pakistan will continue to help the U.S. reduce involvement in Afghanistan.
“Basically, we’re policemen right now, and we’re not supposed to be policemen. We’ve been there for 19 years in Afghanistan. It’s ridiculous, and I think Pakistan helps us with that because we don’t want to stay as policemen,” the President said.
“If we wanted to, we could win that war. I have a plan that would win that war in a very short period of time, you understand that better than anybody,” Trump added, gesturing to Khan.
Trump said that instead of “fighting to win,” the U.S. efforts are spent on “building gas stations” and “rebuilding schools.”
“The United States, we shouldn’t be doing that. That’s for them to do,” he said. “But what we did and what our leadership got us into is ridiculous.”
Trump has repeated his intention to pull troops from Afghanistan, from what he has called an endless war.
In December, President Trump had told his Cabinet members to begin plans for withdrawing approximately half of the 14,000 U.S. personnel deployed to Afghanistan over the following several months.
The decision was heavily criticized by military officials and members of Congress who believed such a withdrawal posed a high risk of increasing terrorist activities by weakening counterterrorism efforts and allowing ISIS, al Qaeda and other terror groups to regain momentum.
The pace of withdrawal was slowed down, but some 6,000 troops have been pulled from the region since.
Approximately 1,000 troops were withdrawn in February, in a move reportedly meant to increase efficiency.
According to a June report from the Pentagon to Congress on Afghanistan, the U.S. still has 8,475 troops supporting the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.
The report noted that the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is to coordinate with Afghan forces and put pressure and incentive on the Taliban to promote peace negotiations, along with countering terrorism and insurgent efforts.