Reiterating that India has been making important contributions towards Afghanistan’s democracy and stability, the White House has said that it is important for Delhi to continue that effort. “It’s important that there’s a regional approach, and part of that is developing and strengthening that relationship and partnership with India. They’ve been making important contributions towards Afghanistan’s democracy and their stability, and we think it’s important to continue that effort,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her news conference.
She was responding to questions on why the US President think drawing closer to India will prompt the Pakistanis to play a constructive role rather than becoming defensive and playing more into a strategy of giving harbour to extremists. Earlier this week, Trump delivered his first prime time address to the nation on America’s path forward in Afghanistan and South Asia. “The President’s strategy is based on conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables. And it will ensure terrorists never again use Afghanistan as a haven to attack the United States,” she said.
“The brave men and women of our nation’s military have given extraordinary sacrifices to this longest war in American history,” she said. When it comes to the strategy in Afghanistan, Sanders said, they’re going to be focused on the conditions on the ground, which will be determined by the generals in the military on the ground and certainly through the Department of Defense and Defense Secretary James Mattis and his team, and not arbitrary timetables.
However, Sanders said, the ultimate goal is a peaceful settlement between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban that protects US interest and protects American lives. “That’s the focus,” she said in response to a question.