Trump stern on Pakistan, calls on India for support in Afghanistan: Top quotes

Donald Trump also promised to boost US’ strategic partnership with India to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan.

world Updated: Aug 22, 2017 11:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Donald Trump,Trump on Pakistan,India US cooperation
US President Donald Trump announces his strategy for the war in Afghanistan during an address from Fort Myer, Virginia.(Reuters Photo)

Reversing course from his campaign pledges, US President Donald Trump on Monday committed US to an open-ended conflict in Afghanistan and singled out Pakistan for providing ‘safe haven’ to militants.

“We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens,” Trump said, adding that the American strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia will change dramatically.

Trump promised to boost US’ strategic partnership with India to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan and called on New Delhi to provide more economic assistance to the war-torn country.

Here are the top quotes from Trump’s speech:

Why the decision to remain involved in Afghanistan

Trump said that although he shared Americans’ “frustration” over the US foreign policy, he feared exiting Afghanistan immediately could be unpredictable:

... the consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable. 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history, was planned and directed from Afghanistan because that country was ruled by a government that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists.

A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum for terrorists, including ISIS and Al Qaeda, would instantly fill just as happened before Sept. 11.

‘Pakistan will have to change’

Trump came down heavily on Pakistan for its support to terror groups, saying the country receives billions in US aid but continues to harbour militants.

We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond.

The Pakistani people have suffered greatly from terrorism and extremism. We recognize those contributions and those sacrifices... But Pakistan has also sheltered the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people. We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars. At the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting.

But that will have to change. And that will change immediately. No partnership can survive a country’s harboring of militants and terrorists who target US service members and officials. It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order and to peace.

Increased cooperation with India

Trump warned about the “threat” of conflict between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan if terrorism wasn’t thwarted and said America is to further develop its strategic partnership with India.

Another critical part of the South Asia strategy for America is to further develop its strategic partnership with India, the world’s largest democracy and a key security and economic partner of the United States. We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development.

‘Attack we will’: Warning to terrorists

The US President strongly denounced terrorism and warned militant groups of the American might.

We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities. Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on. America’s enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out.

I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.

Hinting at political settlement with ‘elements of Taliban’?

Another fundamental pillar of our new strategy is the integration of all instruments of American power — diplomatic, economic, and military — toward a successful outcome. Someday, after an effective military effort, perhaps it will be possible to have a political settlement that includes elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan. But nobody knows if or when that will ever happen.

On Trump’s ‘record-breaking’ success

Trump claimed the US had achieved ‘record-breaking’ success fighting terrorism against the Islamic State under his presidency.

We’re already seeing dramatic results in the campaign to defeat ISIS, including the liberation of Mosul in Iraq.

Since my inauguration, we have achieved record-breaking success in that regard. We will also maximize sanctions and other financial and law enforcement actions against these networks to eliminate their ability to export terror.

America First

The US President remained true to his campaign promises and said that America will focus on its interests instead of ensuring establishment of democracies in other nations:

But we will no longer use American military might to construct democracies in faraway lands or try to rebuild other countries in our own image. Those days are now over. Instead, we will work with allies and partners to protect our shared interests.

Taking potshots at Obama?

Since assuming charge, Trump has often attacked the Obama administration for inheriting a “mess. At home and abroad”.

No one denies that we have inherited a challenging and troubling situation in Afghanistan and South Asia. But we do not have the luxury of going back in time and making different or better decisions. When I became president, I was given a bad and very complex hand. But I fully knew what I was getting into, big and intricate problems.

But one way or another, these problems will be solved. I’m a problem solver. And in the end, we will win.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Aug 22, 2017 11:20 IST