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Frustrated Trump may reconsider Afghanistan strategy

Ashraf Ghani and Mike Pompeo
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Afghan Presidency Press Office / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Within the next few months, the U.S. may conduct a "review of its strategy in Afghanistan," Reuters reports, citing current and former officials and advisers with direct knowledge.

The big picture: President Trump "has shown signs of frustration over the lack of progress" since last year, when he announced his strategy for continuing the war. In the last year, conditions in Afghanistan haven't significantly improved as "Afghan civilians are paying a heavy toll, the Taliban are expanding in rural areas but are unable to capture major urban centers and the capability of Afghan security forces remains in doubt," Reuters notes.

The White House has not yet officially asked for a review, Reuters reports, but officials believe a request could come in the next few months.

  • The review would look at the current strategy, the presence of U.S. troops, and possible negotiations with the Taliban.
  • A National Security Council spokesperson told Reuters: "We regularly conduct reviews of our strategies examining their effectiveness and making necessary adjustments to ensure U.S. resources are being used in the most efficient ways possible."

The backdrop: This comes after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dropped into Afghanistan this week and met with President Ashraf Ghani, offering U.S. assistance in peace negotiations with the Taliban. Pompeo said, per Politico: "The region and the world are all tired of what are taking place here in the same way that the Afghan people are no longer interested in seeing war."

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