LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - On Monday, President Donald Trump walked back his previous calls for a speedy exit from Afghanistan to renew the United States' longest war.
During the announcement, Trump avoided any specifics on how many more troops will be sent to Afghanistan, but did say our military would move towards a "time-based" approach. Despite avoiding exact numbers, Trump hinted that he might approve the Pentagon's plan to add nearly 4,000 troops in the country.
"Our troops will fight to win," Trump said during the speech. "We will fight to win. From now on, victory will have a clear definition."
Senator Tom Cotton supported now discussing troop numbers, telling us that both the Bush and Obama administrations focused "too much" on troop numbers.
He is one of many in Washington who have applauded Trump's commitment to the 16-year war in Afghanistan. He said that the president asked the "right questions" about the war.
"As Secretary Mattis has said, one of the core principles of war is you go somewhere and you kill your enemy, you keep killing them until they've had enough killing," Cotton said.
Though he could not speak on specifics of the proposed plan, Cotton said there will be changes to the rule of engagement and that terrorist organizations would "feel that very soon."
The senator said our military's goal is to stop the Taliban and other terrorist groups from targeting America. Recently, the Taliban have gained ground in Afghanistan, inflicting heavy casualties to the country's security forces. Adding to that is the Islamic State's ever increasing threat to the Afghan people.
"All we can do is focus on what our core national security interest is there," Cotton said, "which is to ensure that we're not attacked from Afghanistan the way we were 16 years ago."
Although Trump promised a "fight to win," the Taliban have dismissed his strategy, calling it "nothing new."
"If American doesn't withdraw its troops from Afghanistan," said Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, "soon Afghanistan will become another graveyard for this superpower in the 21st century."
Cotton said that negotiating with the Taliban at this time "would be unwise," but once senior leaders were removed the Afghan government should consider working with the organization.