Trump’s change of heart: Afghanistan strategy marks dramatic switch for US president
“Why are we continuing to train these Afghanis who then shoot our soldiers in the back? Afghanistan is a complete waste. Time to come home!” Trump tweeted in 2012, criticizing Barack Obama’s policy of gradual withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
Four years later the multi-billionaire real estate tycoon and former reality TV star is in the White House and backing an even more muscular approach to Afghanistan than Obama did.
On Monday, Trump said that after studying the issue, he had reconsidered his original instinct to pull US forces out of the 16-year war in Afghanistan.
Trump’s new Afghan plan is a complete flip-flop from the advice he once tweeted as a private citizen.
Between 2012 and 2013 Trump’s Twitter tweeted regularly on Afghanistan. “Wasting our money” and a “speedy withdrawal” were two of the common themes expressed.
“We have wasted an enormous amount of blood and treasure in Afghanistan. Their government has zero appreciation. Let's get out!” he said.
In 2015, during his election campaign, Trump said of an attack in Afghanistan in which US troops were killed: “We are being led to the slaughter!”
Trump has not said how many troops he would commit or how he would judge success as he laid out his military plans for Afghanistan during an address to the nation from Fort Myer military base in Arlington, Virginia.
A resurgent Taliban controls greater areas of the country than at any time in the 16-year war with the group launching a bloody offensive in recent months. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has also gained control of swathes of the war-torn country.
In his latest speech, Trump announcing no deadlines would be set for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, with no “rapid exit” from the war.