'Donald Trump has said that he could win the Afghanistan war “in a week” but did not want to wipe the country “off the face of the Earth”.
At the same White House, the president also made a quixotic offer to mediate the longstanding Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, claiming the Indian government had invited to act as broker – a claim quickly denied in New Delhi.
The president made his remarks sitting alongside the Pakistani prime minister, Imran Khan, who is seeking to have more than $1bn in US aid restored, after Trump cut it off last year blaming Islamabad for not doing enough to fight extremism.
“The problem was Pakistan wasn’t doing anything for us. They were subversive,” he said. “To be honest, I think we have a better relationship with Pakistan right now than when we were paying that money. That money can come back.”
Trump said that the aid could be restored “depending on what’s worked out”, but claimed that US-Pakistani relations had been better since the aid, which he said was worth $1.3bn, had been cut.
Trump also talked about the 18-year war in Afghanistan, as US officials pursue talks with Taliban officials, with cautious support from Islamabad.
“Pakistan’s going to help us out to extricate ourselves,” Trump said at an Oval Office meeting with Khan. “We’re like policemen. We’re not fighting a war. If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win that war in a week. But I don’t want to kill 10 million people. Afghanistan could be wiped off the face of the Earth. I don’t want to go that route.”
Trump added that there was hope that the Taliban would talk about peace in the coming days. A White House statement later acknowledged: “Pakistan has made efforts to facilitate the Afghanistan peace talks, and we are going to ask them to do more.”'
Read more: Trump says he could win Afghan war 'in a week … but I don't want to kill 10 million'
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24 April 2019
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