Donald Trump's Afghanistan policy: US open to political deal with Taliban, says it will continue to support Afghan military

Washington: President Donald Trump on Monday left the door open to an eventual political deal with the Taliban, in an address on America's news strategy in the 16-year Afghan conflict.

Donald Trump walks off after speaking on his Afghanistan policy. AP

Donald Trump walks off after speaking on his Afghanistan policy. AP

"Someday, after an effective military effort, perhaps it will be possible to have a political settlement that includes elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan," he said.

"But nobody knows if or when that will ever happen," he added, before vowing that "America will continue its support for the Afghan government and military as they confront the Taliban in the field."

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump's decision to pressure Pakistan and step up military operations in Afghanistan could help United States diplomats build towards a political solution.

"Our new strategy breaks from previous approaches that set artificial calendar-based deadlines," said Tillerson, in a statement issued after he attended Trump's speech.

"We are making clear to the Taliban that they will not win on the battlefield. The Taliban has a path to peace and political legitimacy through a negotiated political settlement to end the war."

"We stand ready to support peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban without preconditions," Tillerson promised.

"We look to the international community, particularly Afghanistan's neighbors, to join us in supporting an Afghan peace process."


Updated Date: Aug 22, 2017 10:23 AM

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