Frustrated with Afghan war, Trump wants to sack his commander

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump is furious that American troops are not winning the war in Afghanistan and wants to sack their commander Gen John Nicholson, the US media reported on Thursday.

Almost all major US media outlets claimed that President Trump had become “increasingly frustrated” with the pace of the war in Afghanistan and was upset with the team he had asked to craft a new strategy for winning the war.

Quoting senior administration officials, the media reported that President Trump at a recent White House meeting suggested firing the commander of US forces in Afghanistan Gen Nicholson “because he is not winning the war”.

The media reported that US Defence Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen Joseph Dunford, also attended the July 19 meeting where Mr Trump asked them to find a new commander for Afghanistan.

A senior Trump official told NBC News, which first reported the proceedings of the meeting, that “an agitated president lashed out at his top military advisers” when they described the war as a stalemate.

“We aren’t winning. We are losing,” Mr Trump told his generals while emphasising the need for a change of command in Afghanistan.

“By most measures, the president is correct,” said NBC News while commenting on Mr Trump’s remarks. “The US military has become bogged down in Afghanistan,” it added.

The television channel also quoted from a report, released last month by a US government watchdog, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), pointing out that after almost 16 years America was still far from winning the war.

So far of 2,216 US military personnel and tens of thousands of civilians were killed in Afghanistan. And the longest war of the US history had already cost the American taxpayers an estimated $714 billion, the SIGAR reported.

“In return, the US-backed Afghan government controls less than 60 per cent of its own country,” said the official report.

“Much of the rest is controlled by a resurgent Taliban, with many areas that the US and its allies fought hardest to secure slipping back into militant hands,” NBC News added.

The US media also referred to a pledge Secretary Mattis made at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in June. “We’re not winning in Afghanistan right now and we will correct this as soon as possible,” he said.

The media pointed out that Mr Mattis’ pledge appeared to have stalled while the White House national security team was also unable to craft a winning strategy.

After months of trying, the policy planners did present some options to President Trump late last month but he rejected them because he believed that “it’s not a winning strategy”, a media report claimed.