A+ A-

Pence, Haley say Trump's new Afghan strategy to reduce terror threats

WASHINGTON, Aug 22 (KUNA) -- Vice President Mike Pence and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on Tuesday said President Donald Trump is taking a new approach to the 16-year war in Afghanistan that will more effectively fight terrorists through additional pressure on states in the region to cooperate and enhance Pentagon authority to make battlefield decisions.
In a CNN "New Day" interview, Haley said the Afghan war "is not just about Afghanistan. This is about the region, and so that means that we've got to put the pressure on Pakistan. They can't safe-harbor terrorists anymore." "We've got to put the pressure on India that they have to be part of the political solution," she said. "We need to continue to let Iran know that all of this terrorism and their sponsorship of it is not something we're going to put up with. And we need the international community to step up and say, look, if we're going to do this, we're doing it together. It's not the United States alone." In a separate interview on "Fox and Friends," Pence echoed Haley's remarks and expanded on them, explaining how the Trump plan, as announced by the President in a nationally televised speech on Monday night, will work.
"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 be there to destroy terrorist networks that use Afghanistan and portions of Pakistan as safe havens. We're going to call on Pakistan to step up and be a more effective partner in confronting the terrorist organizations, some 20 of which harbor in Afghanistan and regions in Pakistan. And we're going to engage India more effectively in Afghanistan." "But not nation-building," Pence said. "We'll let the Afghan people build their own nation. Our objective there is to advance the security of the United States and to support the Afghan national army as they stay in the lead, in the fight." This is the approach that Trump directed in Iraq and Syria, Pence said.
"We have personnel at the brigade level that are working with Iraqi forces, and they have been driving IS (the so-called Islamic State) out of Iraq, and soon we'll go all the way to drive them out of existence," Pence said. "We are, in a very real sense, changing the rules of engagement so that American commanders on the ground can make real-time decisions," he said. For too long in the administration of former President Barack Obama, "we had artificial timelines that only emboldened the Taliban and terrorist enemies in the country, and we also put great restraints on American military personnel in their battle against terrorist organizations and the Taliban," Pence said. "Now, the President has taken off those limitations and let our commanders make real-time decisions on the ground. We believe that it's going to be effective." Haley said that in the past in Afghanistan, the US approach has "always been time based, on when we were going to get out, or based on the number of troops or based on all kinds of things. Now, it's results-based, and that works." "Our enemies are no longer going to know what our timeline is," she said. "Our enemies are no longer going to know where we are and how many troops and all of those things. What our enemies are going to know is, we're not putting up with the terrorism anymore, and we're going to do whatever it takes." (end) rm.rk