(NETWORK IN) America will not give Afghanistan a blank check for our presence there, said Pres. Trump during his speech last night. He also said the U.S. will send an additional 4,000 troops, and will hold Pakistan accountable for negotiating with the Taliban.
“It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, to order and to peace,” said Trump. He said the consequences of a rapid exit for the U.S. are predictable and unacceptable.
“America’s enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out. I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will,” said Trump.
“I’m glad the President outlined his approach to Afghanistan and explained to the American people why continued vigilance enhances our security and protects our way of life,” said Sen. Todd Young, a Republican, after the speech. “I look forward to studying his strategy more closely.”
Sen. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, responded to the speech by saying Trump should be accountable to Congress for his Afghanistan policy.
“I hope he now comes to Congress with a clear strategy and explains how the Administration plans to achieve that goal. The mission in Afghanistan should be based on conditions on the ground, where the Taliban and ISIS threaten the stability of the country and U.S. national security interests,” said Donnelly.
“It is critically important that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists like those who planned the 9/11 attacks and those who wish to do our country and our allies harm,” he said.
Rep. Jim Banks, a Republican from Indiana’s 3rd District, said he believes Trump’s approach is to seek victory, rather than to avoid defeat.
“As the most recently deployed member of Congress, I saw firsthand the disintegration of efforts in Afghanistan under the Obama Administration’s abrupt drawdown. We must continue taking the fight there to prevent this terrorism from returning to our shores. This is only possible with a sound strategy, a steadfast commitment to building the capacity of our Afghan partners and enough troops to finish the mission,” said Banks.
He added that he is eager to work with the House Armed Services Committee to see the president’s plan through.
Democrat Rep. Andre’ Carson, of Indiana’s 7th District, cautioned against staying in Afghanistan indefinitely.
“The President is correct that we are war weary. We need a strategy. But it cannot mean a war without end,” he Tweeted after the speech.