Senior US Democrat sees resistance to Trump Afghan plan


NEW YORK, Aug 24 (APP): The top Democrat on the House Armed Services
Committee, Congressman Adam Smith, has said that his party will
“absolutely” resist what he called President Trump’s newly announced
Afghan war plan – at least until they get details of his approach,
including negotiations with the Taliban.
“There will be two areas of resistance. One is, there are a fair
number of people who want to get out, who say that, you know, this
isn’t working, isn’t helping us, we should just get out right away,”
he said in a radio interview on Wednesday.
“And then there are going to be people – and I put myself more in
this camp – that want to see the details,” the lawmaker told Yahoo News
on SiriusXM radio.
“We don’t want to give the president a blank check to do whatever
he’s going to do if we don’t know where he’s going with his policy, or
what his plans are for our troops and for our commitment there,”
Smith said. “And that’s what was really absent from his speech.”
Congressman Smith said he would press top Trump officials in
upcoming hearings on the strategy about how they envision potential negotiations with the Taliban.
The congressman said he had been discussing the nearly 16-year
conflict – now America’s longest war – with top Trump officials,
including Defense Secretary James Mattis.
“I’m hearing that, basically, the plan is to fight to a stalemate
to try to negotiate with the Taliban and that the one item is no support
for transnational terrorists, that, basically, we can live with whatever
it is they make Afghanistan into as long as it doesn’t turn on us like
it did with [Osama] bin Laden, al-Qaeda and 9/11,” Smith said.
“So I want to hear them say that publicly, or if it’s something
different to say that publicly.”
Smith said he would also press Trump officials on funding the
escalation and on how it could affect military readiness, already
hampered by the frenetic pace of deployments since the worst terrorist attack on the US soil.
Smith said it was an “absolute fact” that any strategy would have
to rely at least as much on tribal authorities as on the relatively
weak central government in Kabul.
“Afghanistan has never been centrally controlled – except briefly
when the Soviet Union was there, and we all know how that came out,”
he said. “Kabul is never going to control that country. It’s just not
going to happen.”