WASHINGTON – Seeking a more aggressive stance in Afghanistan, President Donald Trump reportedly vowed a radical reshuffle of his national security team, including firing a general who has been in charge of US troops in the war-torn country for over 16 years.
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Details have emerged of a tense meeting with top military officials in mid-July when Trump repeatedly voiced frustration over the current strategy in Afghanistan, where the US has been bogged down in war for 16 years. The US must consider new, more assertive ways of winning the war, Trump maintained, according to an NBC report.
One of the options he floated at the meeting in mid-July was the dismissal of Army General John Nicholson, commander of US troops in Afghanistan. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford would replace him, NBC reported, citing senior administration officials who requested anonymity.
Trump reported lashed out at military staff during the fractious meeting, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, accusing them of losing ground in Afghanistan despite having enough time to push for a decisive win. “We aren’t winning,” the president reportedly said. “We are losing.”
Trump is said to have complained that the options for Afghanistan presented by his military strategists – including a complete withdrawal – were far away from the reality on the ground. Backing up his claim while speaking to the national security team, the property mogul-turned-president compared the current Afghan policy review to the renovation of the 21 Club – a posh Manhattan restaurant he has frequently visited.