Vice President Mike Pence gave additional details on President Donald Trump’s Afghanistan strategy, vowing America will not be “nation building,” but will instead let the Afghan people “stay in the lead.”
“We are going to be there to destroy terrorist networks that use Afghanistan and portions of Pakistan as safe havens,” Pence said Tuesday on “Fox and Friends.” “We are going to call on Pakistan to step up and be a more effective partner in confronting the terrorist organizations … and we’re going to engage India more effectively. But not nation building.”
“We’ll let the Afghan people build their own nation,” the vice president added. “Our objective there is to advance the security off the United States of America and to support the Afghan national army as they stay in the lead in the fight.”
Pence praised Trump’s Monday speech, calling it a show of strength and resolve that resonated with listeners.
“What the American people saw last night was a commander-in-chief addressing the nation, addressing our troops and really addressing the world, with American resolve,” Pence said.
He said that the strategies used in Afghanistan since 2001 have been fractured and ineffective, and the Trump administration will be taking the tactics used to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq and applying them to fight Afghan terrorists.
“President Trump announced a whole new strategy for South Asia which said look, we’re going to provide the resources and the military personnel and the air assets necessary to support the Afghan army’s efforts to defeat the Taliban,” Pence said. “We’re going to take all those lessons and the leadership President Trump has provided in Iraq and Syria and put that into practice in Afghanistan with the same result.”
Pence said the rules of engagement will change, and the White House will be deferring more to military leaders on the ground, while bolstering its decision-making power.
“The president made clear last night that we are in a real sense, changing the rules of engagement so that American commanders on the ground can make real time decisions,” Pence said. “For too long in the last administration we had artificial timelines that only emboldened the Taliban and terrorist enemies in the country … Now the president has taken off those limitations.”
“No more artificial timelines. We’re committed. We’re committed to standing with the Afghan forces in the battle against the Taliban,” he concluded.
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