(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump’s plan to end America’s longest war and eliminate Afghanistan’s rising extremist threat involves sending up to 3,900 additional U.S. troops, senior officials said Tuesday. The first deployments could take place within days.
In a national address Monday night, Trump reversed his past calls for a speedy exit and recommitted the United States to the 16-year-old conflict, saying U.S. troops must “fight to win.” He warned against repeating what he said were mistakes in Iraq, where an American military withdrawal led to a vacuum that the Islamic State group quickly filled.
Trump would not confirm how many more service members he plans to send to Afghanistan, which may be the public’s most pressing question about his strategy. In interviews with television networks Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence similarly wouldn’t give any clear answer, but he cited Pentagon plans from June calling for 3,900 more troops.
“The troop levels are significant, and we’ll listen to our military commanders about that,” Pence said.