President Donald Trump hosted military service members for lunch Tuesday in an effort to field new ideas for a strategy in Afghanistan.
Trump said that he wanted “to find out why we’ve been there for 17 years, how it’s going and what we should do in in terms of additional ideas,” according to the Military Times. The president specifically sought out service members in an effort to get a firsthand perspective.
“We have plenty of ideas from a lot of people, but I want to hear it from the people on the ground,” said Trump.
Afghanistan policy has been a thorn in the side of the administration since it took over in January. Trump’s current strategy appears to mirror Obama’s: supporting the Afghan government so that it can eventually secure the country on its own. However, resurgence by the Taliban, internal problems with the Afghan National Security Forces and rampant corruption have hampered this goal.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has been given the leading role regarding Afghanistan policy. He is expected to send another 4,000 troops to the country in an effort to push back against recent Taliban gains.
In addition to supporting the government against the Taliban, U.S. forces are also involved in an operation to destroy the small Islamic State presence in Afghanistan. The group, known as Islamic State Khorasan Province (IS-K), is relatively small, but has engaged in successful terror attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
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