After 16 years of war in Afghanistan, the Trump administration says it’s close to having a new strategy for defeating terrorism and ending the conflict in the region.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters Thursday that the president will discuss the strategy at Camp David Friday.
“We are coming very close to a decision, and I anticipate it in the very near future,” he said.
Months ago the Pentagon settled on a plan to send nearly 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan but there is heated debate about whether that’s a good idea.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., serves as the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He has threatened to take matters into his own hands if Trump doesn’t come up with a plan by September, The Hill reports.
“If the president fails to do this by the time the Senate takes up the defense authorization bill in September, I will offer an amendment to that legislation, which will provide such a strategy,” McCain said in a statement.
Stephen J. Hadley served as the national security adviser to President George W. Bush. In a Washington Post article, he writes that if the Trump administration withdraws forces from Afghanistan it would be a victory for terrorists.
“It would undo the Trump administration’s recent success against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and provide the Islamic State a haven in Afghanistan from which to foment attacks on the United States,” he wrote.
He suggests that there is another way the Trump administration can deliver a major blow against terrorism.
“The Islamic State and al-Qaeda seek to expand their presence in Afghanistan, but virtually none of the Afghan groups — including the Taliban — support them,” Hadley explained. “They can be defeated in Afghanistan just as they are being pushed out of Iraq and Syria.”
“This natural extension of the Iraq/Syria campaign would help consolidate the victory against the Islamic State,” he added. “But it will require U.S. counterterrorism forces to continue operating alongside Afghan security forces.”