DONALD TRUMP: The American people are weary of war without victory. Nowhere is this more evident than with the war in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history-- 17 years.
I share the American people's frustration. My original instinct was to pull out. And historically, I like following my instincts. But all my life, I've heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office.
A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al-Qaeda, would instantly fill, just as happened before September 11. And as we know, in 2011, America hastily and mistakenly withdrew from Iraq.
A core pillar of our new strategy is a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions. We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities. Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on. America's enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out. I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.
We are a partner and a friend. But we will not dictate to the Afghan people how to live or how to govern their own complex society. We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists.
Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbour criminals and terrorists. America will work with the Afghan government as long as we see determination and progress. However, our commitment is not unlimited. And our support is not a blank check.