President Donald Trump is set to unveil a new strategy for Afghanistan in a speech on Monday. U.S. troops have been in the region since October 2001, following the September 11 terror attacks.
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Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said during an interview on the FOX Business Network’s Mornings with Maria on Monday that he expects President Trump to make changes to the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, including sending a “couple thousand” more troops.
“I suspect he’s going to have two big changes from the recent past: one will be a very, very strong emphasis on training the Afghan army, the Afghan police, moving them toward an ability ultimately to run the country on their own without us. The other will be dramatically greater pressure on Pakistan,” Gingrich said.
Gingrich emphasized Pakistan’s importance in the fight against extremist groups in the region, saying that there is going to be a great deal of “economic and diplomatic pressure” put on Pakistan.
“I think that it’s important for the president to connect the dots. You can’t talk about your concern about terrorism and then create a gigantic sanctuary where terrorists can plot and where we know they have in the past,” he said. “At the same time, we don’t want a massive American involvement and we don’t want the Americans trying to run Afghanistan, so I think a prudent step is they need a couple thousand more people to do the kind of training that people like General Mattis think will make a difference.”
Gingrich also discussed North Korea, saying that the Hermit Kingdom is a “limited threat” in the short run.
“In the long run, five or 10 years from now, [North Korea] will be a very different threat. I think we’re not likely to go to war with them because the danger to Seoul, Korea – 25 million people is enormous – it’s right there on the border and it could have enormous casualties in the first few hours,” Gingrich said. “So I think we’re trying frankly to pressure them, the Chinese have joined us in increasing the pressure,” he added.