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Trump: New Afghanistan Strategy Is ‘Killing Terrorists,’ Not ‘Nation-Building’

President Donald Trump on Monday said the United States’ new approach to the war in Afghanistan does not amount to “nation-building,” but rather “killing terrorists.” He said U.S. support for Afghanistan is “not a blank check,” and acknowledged his recent skepticism of increased involvement in the Middle Eastern nation. “My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts, but all of my life I heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office,” Trump said during a primetime address at Fort Myer outside Washington. “So I studied Afghanistan in great detail and from every angle.” Trump said pulling out of the country would create a “vacuum” similar to one that was created in Iraq, when American gains there “flipped back into the hands” of terrorists, namely ISIS. “We cannot repeat the mistake in Afghanistan that our leaders made in Iraq,” Trump said, adding future decisions on troop levels will be based on conditions, rather than time. He also urged Pakistan, a neighbor of Afghanistan, to work with the U.S. rather than “harbor criminals and terrorists.”

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