President Donald Trump expressed on Tuesday his willingness for the United States to draw down forces in Afghanistan.
“We’ve been a peacekeeper there, in a way, for 19 years and at a certain point, you have to say, ‘That’s long enough,'” Trump said.
The president commented to reporters during a meeting with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at the White House.
Trump recalled visiting wounded members of the armed forces who continued to serve in Afghanistan despite the ongoing conflict.
“I go to Walter Reed and I see young men that step on a bomb and they lose their legs, they lose their arms, and in some case, they lose both and their face on top of it, and they’re living,” he said.
Trump met last week with military advisers about negotiating a withdrawal of some troops in the region.
Vice President Mike Pence attended the meeting with Trump, as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton, Defense Secretary Mike Esper, Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford, and CIA Director Gina Haspel.
Trump again said he was not willing to launch a massive military attack to win the war in Afghanistan, citing a potential death toll of ten million Afghans in the region.
“I don’t want to do what it would take to win it,” he said but added he could win “in a week” if he wanted to.
Trump said he would continue negotiations with the Afghan government and the Taliban to withdraw troops from the country.
“I would say this, the Taliban would like to stop fighting us, they’ve lost a lot,” he said.
When asked if he could trust the Taliban, Trump he replied, “Nobody can be trusted, in this world, I think nobody can be trusted.”
Trump said the United States would continue to have intelligence resources present in Afghanistan to monitor any surge of terrorism in the country.
“That does seem to be Harvard University of terrorism,” he said.
Trump noted the devastating toll that the Soviet Union paid for their involvement in the country during the Cold War.
“Remember it’s a tough place, the Soviet Union became Russia because of Afghanistan, that’s what happened, very simple.”