President Trump on Monday, July 22, told reporters during a White House meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan that he could win the Afghanistan war in a week but does not want to do so because it could kill 10 million people.
“If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win that war in a week. I just don’t want to kill 10 million people. Does that make sense to you? I don’t want to kill 10 million people,” the president said.
“I have plans on Afghanistan that, if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth. It would be gone. It would be over in—literally, in 10 days. And I don’t want to do—I don’t want to go that route.”
The president said Pakistan will help with the United States to end the Afghanistan conflict.
“So we’re working with Pakistan and others to extricate ourselves. Nor do we want to be policemen, because basically we’re policemen right now,” the president said.
“I think Pakistan helps us with that because we don’t want to stay as policemen. But if we wanted to, we could win that war. I have a plan that would win that war in a very short period of time,” the president added.
Khan agrees with President Trump, “There is no military solution in Afghanistan.”
“If you go all-out military, there will be millions and millions of people who will die,” Khan said.
Khan said that the only solution is to “urge the Taliban to speak to the Afghan government and come to a settlement—a political solution.”
The Afghanistan conflict is one of the key agenda priorities when President Trump meets with Khan. Warming up to Khan marked a turnaround for the president, who has been sharply critical of Pakistan and now hopes Khan’s government will use its influence with the Taliban to advance a peace deal and help the United States withdraw from the war, according to AP.
In the past, the United States had a tense relationship with Pakistan, particularly with the president criticizing Pakistan for doing little help to fight terrorists in Afghanistan, and cut off $1.3 billion in annual aid to Pakistan.
In January 2018, President Trump tweeted: “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than $$33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more.”
But now, both countries said they want to smooth tensions.
When asked whether the United States can restore any package for Pakistan, the president said it depends on what both countries work out, saying “I think we have a better relationship with Pakistan right now than we did when we were paying that money. But all of that can come back, depending on what we work out.”
Includes reporting from The Associate Press