weather icon Clear

Trump wants Pakistan to help ‘extricate’ US from Afghanistan

Updated July 22, 2019 - 3:15 pm

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump claimed Monday he could end the nearly two-decade old war in Afghanistan in a matter of days, but it would kill millions of people and wipe the country “off the face of the earth.”

The president made the statement at the White House as he praised Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and sought his help in negotiating a peace deal in neighboring Afghanistan.

“I could win that war in a week. I just don’t want to kill 10 million people,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “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, literally, in 10 days.”

Warming up to Khan marked a turnaround for Trump, 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 U.S. withdraw from the nearly two-decade old war.

The war began when the U.S. went after al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and his Taliban supporters in Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Sitting alongside Khan, Trump said he wanted a peaceful resolution. “So we’re working with Pakistan and others to extricate ourselves.”

The pleasantries in the Oval Office were an abrupt change from when Trump cut millions of dollars in aid to Pakistan, saying the only thing it offered the United States was “lies” and “deceit.”

Khan has bashed Trump too, but now says Pakistan is also eager to work to end the war. The U.S. wants Pakistan to use its leverage to get the Taliban to agree to a ceasefire, negotiate with the Afghan government and stop harboring militant groups.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who sat in on the meeting, said, “Peace with honor and dignity in Afghanistan is only possible with the complete buy-in of Pakistan.”

“If the Taliban are denied sanctuary in Pakistan, this war will end quickly and on our terms,” Graham said, adding that he thinks Pakistan’s leaders are ready for change. “It is my hope that we can negotiate a free trade agreement between the United States and Pakistan, which would be of mutual economic benefit and an incentive to maintain stability in the region.”

U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been holding talks with the Taliban for months, but so far the militant group has refused to talk directly to the Afghan government. There has been no let-up in terrorist attacks during the U.S.-Taliban talks.

“It’s the closest we’ve been to a peace deal,” Khan told Trump. “And I hope in the coming days we will be able to urge the Taliban to speak to the Afghan government and come to a political solution.”

Trump’s casual comments about wiping Afghanistan off the map will likely unsettle Afghans, who have fought against the Taliban alongside their U.S. and NATO partners for years. Afghans also are wary of Pakistan’s involvement in their country’s future. For years, the Afghans have accused Pakistan of creating instability in their country by giving militants a safe place from which to stage attacks across the two countries long, porous border.

As the war has dragged on, relations between the U.S. and Pakistan have gone up and down.

They reached rock bottom under former President Barack Obama when the U.S. carried out the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan without giving Islamabad a heads-up. The relationship didn’t improve when Trump took office.

In January 2018, Trump tweeted: “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars 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.”

Khan, the former captain of the Pakistani cricket team who assumed office last fall, has fired back.

He tweeted that Pakistan has suffered 75,000 casualties and lost $123 billion in the “US War on Terror,” despite the fact that no Pakistanis were involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. He says the U.S. has only provided a “minuscule” $20 billion in aid.

Now, both countries say they want to smooth tensions.

In a sign he means business, Khan traveled to Washington with Pakistan’s top military official and the head of the country’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, which has a long history of connections to militant groups.

Before he arrived, Pakistan arrested a radical cleric and U.S.-wanted terror suspect implicated in the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, that killed 166 people. The U.S. had offered a $10 million reward for Hafiz Saeed’s arrest, but for months, he lived freely in Pakistan.

Pakistan is suffering economically and wants to reset relations with the U.S. in hopes of securing investment, trade and possibly a restoration of American aid that Trump cut. “All of that can come back, depending on what we work out,” Trump said.

Beyond Afghanistan, the two discussed energy, defense and trade as well as India, an archenemy of Pakistan, and Islamabad’s cozy relations with China.

They said they also would discuss a U.S. demand that Pakistan release Dr. Shakil Afridi, a doctor who ran a fake vaccination campaign to help the CIA confirm the whereabouts of bin Laden and kill him in a May 2011 raid that the U.S. carried out without first informing the Pakistani government.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
Court says US can reject asylum along parts of Mexico border

A federal appeals court’s ruling will allow the White House to begin rejecting asylum at some parts of the U.S.-Mexico border for migrants who arrived after transiting through a third country.

Greenland advises Trump it’s not for sale

“We see it as an expression of greater interest in investing in our country and the possibilities we offer,” the government said. “Of course, Greenland is not for sale.”

Trump ties US economic success to winning 2nd term

President Donald Trump sought to reassure his supporters about the state of the U.S. economy in New Hampshire, a state that he hopes to capture in 2020, that their financial security depends on his reelection.