President Trump on Saturday indicated his administration has settled on a course of action to move forward in the U.S. war in Afghanistan, but he offered no details a day after meeting with top advisers at Camp David.
The administration is weighing plans to send an additional 3,800 troops to Afghanistan amid concerns among military leaders that the international coalition and Afghan government forces are losing ground against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The United States has 8,400 troops on the ground, primarily to train and assist local forces as America's longest war grinds through its 16th year.
Trump met with more than a dozen aides, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, at Camp David to discuss the administration's strategy in the region, including Pakistan and India.
The president did not make public remarks after the meeting. In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday that Trump had been “briefed extensively” and was “studying and considering his options.”
Trump “will make an announcement to the American people, to our allies and partners, and to the world at the appropriate time,” Sanders said.
Trump has expressed frustration about the war. Though the administration had settled on the plan to surge troops in the country months ago, some officials have questioned the approach of investing more resources in a conflict that has dragged on through three presidential administrations.
The meeting at Camp David came on the same day as the departure from the White House of Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, who has advocated a more cautious approach that included proposals to replace U.S. troops with private security contractors. Vice President Pence and national security adviser H.R. McMaster are among those who purportedly favor the troop surge.