President Donald Trump voiced his frustration with the war on Afghanistan, the longest war in America’s history.
An NBC report details Trump’s comments about the war, signaling disappointment that despite giving his generals military authority to advance in Afghanistan, the United States continues to lose ground to the Taliban.
“We aren’t winning,” Trump said, according to officials speaking to NBC. “We are losing.”
Trump specifically challenged his Secretary of Defense General James Mattis and the rest of his national security team, including National Security adviser H.R. McMaster.
The president’s frustrations with the war in Afghanistan demonstrate his eagerness to avoid lengthy foreign entanglements, including ones left to his presidency by former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
The meeting took place in mid-July.
According to NBC, Trump was also frustrated that China was earning money off of Afghanistan’s minerals while America was spending the majority of the money to provide security in the region.
Trump went further, comparing the situation to a restaurant renovation debacle in the 1980s in New York City led by consultants, suggesting that the waiters on the ground likely had better ideas.
He signaled disappointment in Gen. John Nicholson, the commander leading the war effort in Afghanistan, suggesting that perhaps the soldiers on the ground would have better solutions.
In an MSNBC interview, McMaster defended Nicholson.
”I’ve known him for many years. I can’t imagine a more capable commander in any, on any mission.”
He asserted “absolutely” that Trump had confidence in Nicholson, despite his expressed reservations.
The war in Afghanistan is now heading into its 16th year. Currently the United States has about 8,400 troops in the country.
Despite their best efforts, U.S. military leaders have yet to provide Trump with a strategy that he trusts that will lead to victory.