In an interview with The Hill, President Trump said the United States will keep troops on “the ground” in Afghanistan even as the U.N. forces there come under pressure from the Trump administration.
Trump told The Hill that the U,S.
will “not let the Afghans or the Taliban take over Afghanistan” despite the international coalition’s pressure.
“The president said that’s what he wants,” a senior administration official told The Washington Post.
“He said, ‘We’re going to let them take over.'”
The administration official did not provide details of the president’s plan.
Trump and Mattis have already indicated they’re leaning toward keeping the U’s remaining forces in Afghanistan.
“I’ve talked to the president about it,” a defense official told reporters on Thursday.
“We’ve discussed it.”
But Trump has indicated that he will not want to pull U.M.F. troops out of the country as soon as possible.
“They will be going out when they’re needed, but we’re not going to go out in the middle of the night,” Trump said in an interview last week with NBC’s Lester Holt.
“Our military is ready to go.
They’re not even thinking about the possibility of getting out.
They are doing what they’re doing.
We’re not leaving.”
Trump also told The New York Times last week that he expects to send up to 100,000 additional troops to Afghanistan by the end of the year.
The president’s aides say they will not be rushing to do so as soon after he takes office, however.
“This is not about an immediate withdrawal,” a Defense Department official told the Post.
“[It is] a long-term commitment.
He’s already told me that we are not going back.”
In recent days, the administration has also signaled that it may not want a quick U.K.-led effort to help Afghans fight Islamic State militants and to build up the Afghan military.
“No one wants to do a quick withdrawal,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Wednesday.
“What we want to do is continue the engagement that the United Kingdom and the coalition has with the Afghan government.”
Spicer also told reporters that Trump “absolutely” wants the U-K.
to join the coalition.
But he said it’s not a given that the country will agree to that.
“So the U.-K.
has not been given an assurance that they will be joining the coalition,” Spicer said.
“There is no one to say to them, ‘You’re not joining us.’
There’s no one that can do that.
There’s not anyone in the room.”
A senior administration source told The Wall Street Journal that Trump wants the allies to “do what we can to help the Afghan National Army, and help the people of Afghanistan get a better future.”
Trump told Holt on Wednesday that the military needs “to continue to do what it is doing, and continue to train Afghan forces.”
He said the U is “getting ready to get out of Afghanistan, but it’s a long, long process.”
The administration has said that a long withdrawal will be the U.’s “only option.”
Trump, Mattis, and the administration are still negotiating with the Trump campaign on the terms of a withdrawal.
“It’s a very complicated process,” a Trump administration official said on Thursday, but the Trump team is confident that the two sides will agree on the scope of the troop increase.
The official added that there’s “nothing in the president-elect’s mind” that would “change” his decision to withdraw U.F.’s from Afghanistan.
But Trump’s allies have pushed back on that assessment.
“President Trump believes that a U.U. withdrawal is the only option,” a State Department official said in a statement.
“That’s why he will continue to pursue this strategy until we see the Afghans take back their country.”
Trump’s spokesman has told reporters, however, that the president will make a final decision “within the next few days.”
“There’s no question in my mind that we will be leaving the country in a very short period of time,” Trump told NBC’s Holt on Thursday morning.
“And I will tell you the plan is a plan that I have for Afghanistan.
That’s what I said on the campaign trail.
We’ve had a long term plan for Afghanistan that I’m working on, and that will be announced very shortly.”
The official said that Trump will “make a decision within the next couple of days” on whether to withdraw the UF-2s and U-2Es from Afghanistan and into the US.