In a primetime address Monday night, President Donald Trump offered few specifics to his promise of defeating Taliban forces in America’s going on 17-year war in Afghanistan.
“Conditions on the ground — not arbitrary timetables — will guide our strategy from now on,” he said.
Since the operation began in 2001, and more recently on the campaign trail last year, Trump publicly stated how the war was costing too many lives and money.
However, thanks to his cabinet and advice from his generals — President Trump has a new strategy.
“First, our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives.”
For Fil-Am Army veteran Drew Viola — who served in Afghanistan in 2009 through 2010 — he thought the US was done conducting operations in the region.
“I never expected it to last this long. I thought we were on the brink of winning and going back home. It’s been years now and we’re still there,” Viola said.
Trump did not mention any specific number in a possible troop surge — however, US officials have said defense secretary James Mattis has the authority to send about 4,000 additional troops.
And while Trump gave no timeline for ending the US presence in Afghanistan, he pressured allies Pakistan, India and NATO to step up their own commitment.
“For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents, chaos, violence and terror. The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear armed states whose tense relations threaten to spiral into conflict. And that could happen.”
And while the US involvement in Afghanistan continues, Viola says while his fellow soldiers continue to be rotated in and out of the region — and he remains confident that the military will defeat the enemy.
“Our military is just so strong that at any time we will go out there and perform. That’s what the US military does, and what we’ve been trained to do.”