Donald Trump will announce his decision on on Monday night in an address to US troops and the nation almost 16 years after the war began.
The US president will “provide an update on the path forward for America’s engagement in and South Asia” in an address to be delivered at 9pm ET from the military base at Fort Myer, south-west of the capital, the White House said in a statement.
Trump gathered top security officials on Friday at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland to weigh his options in the grueling conflict, saying afterward that “many decisions” had been made.
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Wary of international involvement but eager for progress in the drawn-out Afghan war, the had originally promised a new plan by mid-July.
Trump was said to be dissatisfied by initial proposals to add a few thousand more troops in the country, and advisers were studying an expanded strategy for the broader south Asian region, including Pakistan.
The decision comes after the departure from the White House on Friday of Steve Bannon, Trump’s firebrand chief strategist, a nationalist who was said to be disinclined to see US forces more deeply mired in the troubled region.
Trump’s defense secretary, Jim Mattis, confirmed in Amman, Jordan, on Sunday that the administration had agreed on a new strategy for Afghanistan after “rigorous” debate, but refused to provide any details about the decision.
“I’m very comfortable that the strategic process was sufficiently rigorous, and did not go in with a preset condition in terms of what questions could be asked and what decisions could be made,” he said.
“Everyone who had equity was heard,” he said, including budget officials responsible for funding the effort.
Trump had several options on the table that ranged from backing away from the country to stepping up US efforts to defeat the Taliban. In June, he gave Mattis the power to increase troop numbers above the estimated 8,400 that have been in the country – close to 4,000 more, according to reports.
Mattis arrived in Jordan Sunday on the first day of a five-day swing through the Middle East, Turkey and eastern Europe.
There are now about 8,400 US and 5,000 Nato troops supporting Afghanistan’s security forces in the fight against Taliban and other militants. But the situation has remained as deadly as ever, with more than 2,500 Afghan police and troops killed from 1 January to 8 May.