Trump to send more troops to Afghanistan but 'no nation-building'

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Marines with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment establishing a patrol base in an abandoned compound in Afghanistan, April 2017. (USMC)

President Donald Trump outlined a comprehensive new strategy Monday night for achieving a "lasting peace" in Afghanistan – rejecting what he called "arbitrary timetables" for the U.S. troop presence, ratcheting up pressure on Pakistan to stop harboring militants and vowing to refocus the mission on "killing terrorists," not nation-building.

In a televised address to the nation, the president said he will not openly discuss troop numbers, though a senior U.S. official confirmed to Fox News ahead of his address that he has signed off on sending an additional 4,000 troops.

He made clear he will not discuss particulars of military activities but vowed the military would have "the necessary tools and rules of engagement" to make the strategy in Afghanistan effective.

"We are not nation-building again," Trump said. "We are killing terrorists."

In a statement, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said he directed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. to start preparing the military to "carry out the president's strategy."

"I will be in consultation with the Secretary General of NATO and our allies—several of which have also committed to increasing their troop numbers," Mattis said. "Together, we will assist the Afghan Security forces to destroy the terrorist hub.

Trump is now the third commander-in-chief to attempt to bring stability to the war-torn country and seek a U.S. victory in what is now America's longest war.

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