(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
US President Donald Trump's doubts about the war in Afghanistan has led to a delay in completing a new US strategy in South Asia, skepticism that included a suggestion that the US military commander in the region be fired, US officials said on Wednesday.
During a July 19 meeting in the White House Situation Room, Trump demanded that his top national security aides provide more information on what one official called "the end-state" in a country where the United States has spent 16 years fighting against the Taliban with no end in sight.
The meeting grew stormy when Trump said Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford, a Marine general, should consider firing Army General John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, for not winning the war.
"We aren't winning," he told them, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In addition, once the meeting concluded, Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, got into what one official called "a shouting match" with White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster over the direction of US policy.
Some officials left the meeting “stunned” by the president’s vehement complaints that the military was allowing the United States to lose the war
Mattis, McMaster and other top aides are putting together answers to Trump's questions in a way to try to get him to approve the strategy, the officials said.
The White House had no comment on the accounts of the meeting.
Another meeting of top aides is scheduled on Thursday.