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President Trump said Monday that he could easily end the war in Afghanistan by destroying the entire country, but it would result in 10 million deaths.
“We’re like policemen. We’re not fighting a war. If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win that war in a week,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office during a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. “I just don’t want to kill 10 million people.”
The population of Afghanistan is around 35 million.
“I have plans on Afghanistan that if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the earth. It would be gone, it would be over literally in 10 days.”
Throughout the press availability Trump continued to dwell on the longest war in U.S. history.
“If we wanted to, we could win that war. I have a plan that would win that war in a very short period of time,” Trump said, adding, “We’ve been in there not fighting. They’re building gas stations. They’re rebuilding schools. The United States, we shouldn’t be doing that. That’s for them to do.”
Whether Trump has indeed been presented with military plans that would result in the deaths of millions of civilians remains unknown. At least one former military leader, retired four-star Gen. Barry McCaffrey, reacted with shock to that suggestion.
Trump recounted how the U.S. military dropped the most powerful nonnuclear bomb in its arsenal in Afghanistan in 2017 and suggested that the Pentagon had looked to use the weapon much more widely there.
“They were going to make many of them, and I said no,” Trump said.
High on Trump’s agenda with Khan was a request for Pakistan to help negotiate a truce between the Taliban and the Afghan government, so the U.S. could speed up the withdrawal of its troops.
Before today’s meeting, Trump had been highly critical of Pakistan’s efforts in helping bring peace to Afghanistan, accusing its government of repaying American aid with “lies & deceit.”
On Monday, however, Trump praised Khan’s government, saying, “Pakistan never lies.”
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