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Trump says ‘many decisions’ taken at review of South Asia policy, including on Afghanistan

world Updated: Aug 19, 2017 20:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Washington
US President Donald Trump,secretary of state Rex Tillerson,defence secretary James Mattis

Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Hagerstown Regional Airport in Hagerstown, Maryland on August 18, 2017, after a national security meeting at Camp David.(AP)

US President Donald Trump has said “many decision were taken, including on Afghanistan” at a meeting he had with top officials at a presidential retreat on Friday to review the administration’s review of its South Asia policy.

The outcomes of the review — attended by secretary of state Rex Tillerson, defence secretary James Mattis, and top military and security aides — will have significant regional implications for India and Pakistan and beyond and are, thus, widely awaited around the world.

“Important day spent at Camp David with our very talented Generals and military leaders. Many decisions made, including on Afghanistan,” Trump tweeted after the meet.

But he gave away no details, and there were no follow-ups from the White House, which had said on conclusion of the discussions that Trump was “briefed extensively by his national security team on a new strategy to protect America’s interests in South Asia”.

“The President is studying and considering his options and will make an announcement to the American people, to our allies and partners, and to the world at the appropriate time,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. However, she did not say or indicate if any decisions were taken.

The United States has around 8,400 troops in Afghanistan and the Trump administration had struggled for months with options ranging from a significant surge in the numbers to letting the present numbers stand and or get out of Afghanistan, ending the longest war America has ever fought.

There was a proposal some months ago from Pentagon to send an additional 3,800 troops. There was also a move to outsource the war to a private army run by military contractor Eric Prince, the founder of the controversial security company Blackwater. Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist, reportedly liked the idea, but national security adviser HR McMaster and other military leaders didn’t.

First Published: Aug 19, 2017 20:32 IST