Trump meets US service members on Afghanistan strategy

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Washington, July 19 (IANS) The US President Donald Trump met with service members on Tuesday as the Pentagon was still working on a new Afghanistan strategy.

“I’ve heard plenty of ideas from a lot of people, but I want to hear it from people on the ground,” Xinhua quoted Trump as saying.

“We’ve been there for now close to 17 years, and 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,” Trump added.

For months, the Pentagon had been working on a new Afghanistan strategy and Trump along with and his national security team were scheduled to meet this week to discuss US strategy for Afghanistan.

A key part of the new Afghanistan strategy would be setting new US troop levels in Afghanistan.

Former US President Barack Obama had planned to reduce the current number of 9,800 in Afghanistan to some 5,500 by the end of 2015 and withdraw all troops by the end of 2016 when his presidency came to an end.

However, given the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, the Obama administration repeatedly postponed the withdrawal.

Currently, there are about 8,400 US troops and another 5,000 forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on the ground in Afghanistan to train and assist the Afghan forces against the Taliban, and conduct counter-terrorism missions.

The prospect of new US troop levels in Afghanistan came at a time when senior US officials warned of dire security situation in Afghanistan.

–IANS

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