U.S. President Donald Trump will deliver an address to the nation on Monday night to discuss his plans for the future of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the White House announced on Sunday. It will be his first address to the nation.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump would address the American people at 9 p.m. ET on Monday from Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia. “[He will] provide an update on the path forward for America’s engagement in Afghanistan and South Asia,” she said.
Other details were not immediately released, but Trump has been expected for months to make a decision on a strategy for Afghanistan, where fighting continues nearly 16 years after a U.S.-led invasion to overthrow the Taliban government.
Earlier on Sunday, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters that Trump had made a decision on the U.S. strategy, though he declined to provide any further details. “As he said, he wants to be the one to announce it to the American people,” Mattis said, as quoted by Reuters.
The war began in October 2001 in response to the September 11 attacks on the United States, in which two hijacked airliners were flown into both towers of the World Trade Center in New York. Another airliner crashed into the Pentagon while a fourth crashed in Pennsylvania.
The NATO military alliance declared that the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people, was considered to be an attack on all of its members. The NATO-backed war sought to defeat the Taliban and other insurgent groups in the country, which was once home to the leader of al-Qaeda, which carried out the attacks.
Previous administrations have tried but failed to end the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan, where the Taliban continues to hold swaths of territory despite nearly 16 years of conflict. More than 2,500 Afghan security forces were killed in the first four months of 2017, according to a U.S. government report.
The U.S.-led NATO mission has formally ended its combat role, but about 13,500 troops remain in Afghanistan, including 7,000 soldiers from the United States and more than 1,000 from Italy. Their role is to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces.
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