President Donald Trump speaks at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia during a presidential address to the nation about a strategy he believes will best position the US to eventually declare victory in Afghanistan.
President Donald Trump speaks at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia during a presidential address to the nation about a strategy he believes will best position the US to eventually declare victory in Afghanistan. Carolyn Kaster

From the Oval Office, Afghanistan 'looks different'

DONALD Trump has admitted to changing his mind about one of America's costliest wars, admitting decisions are made differently from behind a desk in the Oval Office.

Mr Trump, who promised to put America first during last year's election campaign and indicated he would end the war in Afghanistan, said yesterday that he had studied Afghanistan in great detail and from every angle.

The President arrived at three fundamental conclusions about US core interests in Afghanistan, leading him to decide he would not withdraw forces from the war-torn country.

Mr Trump said lessons learned from Iraq proved what happened when support was withdrawn too quickly.

"A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS (Islamic State) and al-Qaeda, would instantly fill just as happened before September 11,” he said.

"As we know, in 2011, America hastily and mistakenly withdrew from Iraq. As a result, our hard-won gains slipped back into the hands of terrorist enemies.

"Our soldiers watched as cities they had fought for and bled to liberate and won were occupied by a terrorist group called ISIS.”

Mr Trump confirmed US forces would remain in Afghanistan to work with allies to obliterate IS, defeat al-Qaeda and prevent the Taliban from taking over, but refused to confirm reports he would boost forces by 4000.

He also used the address to criticise Pakistan for harbouring the terror groups the US and its allies were trying to defeat.

- Debra Killea



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