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Trump wants to pull troops from Afghanistan but says it's still a 'lab for terrorists'
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said he wants to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan but is concerned that without an American military presence, the country could be used as a base for terrorist attacks on the United States.
In an interview on Fox News broadcast on Monday, Trump said the problem with pulling the 9,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the site of America's longest war, is that the country is a "lab for terrorists."
"I call it the Harvard of terrorists," Trump said.
He recounted conversations he had with U.S. military officials telling them of his desire to remove troops. He said they warned him it would be better to fight terrorists in Afghanistan than at home.
"'Sir, I'd rather attack them over there, then attack them in our land,'" Trump said a general had told him. "It's something you always have to think about," Trump said.
Even if the United States did remove its troops, Trump said, it would leave a "very strong intelligence" presence in Afghanistan.
The interview with Trump was taped over the weekend, prior to Monday's truck bomb attack by Taliban Islamist fighters that killed six people and wounded 105 in Kabul.
U.S. special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad held a seventh round of peace talks on Monday with the Taliban in Qatar, aimed at bringing the 18-year-old war to an end.
The focus of the peace talks has been a Taliban demand that foreign forces leave and a U.S. demand for a guarantee that Afghanistan will not be used as a base for attacks elsewhere.
The United States went to war in Afghanistan in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and the Pentagon, seeking to oust the Taliban militants harboring Saudi-born al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who led plans to carry out the attacks. About 2,400 U.S. forces have been killed in the conflict.
(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's withholding of $391 million in military aid to Ukraine was linked to his request that the Ukrainians look into a claim — debunked as a conspiracy theory — about the 2016 U.S. election, a senior presidential aide said on Thursday, the first time the White House acknowledged such a connection.
Trump and administration officials had denied for weeks that they had demanded a "quid pro quo" - a Latin phrase meaning a favor for a favor - for delivering the U.S. aid, a key part of a controversy that has triggered an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives against the Republican president.
But Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, acknowledged in a briefing with reporters that the U.S. aid — already approved by Congress — was held up partly over Trump's concerns about a Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer server alleged to be in Ukraine.
"I have news for everybody: Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy," Mulvaney said.
‘I’m the Meryl Streep of generals’ — Mattis hits back at Trump for calling him the 'world's most overrated general'
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis decided to take on President Donald Trump's reported assertion that he is "overrated" at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York City on Thursday.
"I'm not just an overrated general, I am the greatest — the world's most — overrated," Mattis said at the event, which raises money for charity.
"I'm honored to be considered that by Donald Trump because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress," Mattis said. "So I guess I'm the Meryl Streep of generals ... and frankly that sounds pretty good to me. And you do have to admit that between me and Meryl, at least we've had some victories."
The former Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs thinks that the VA needs to start researching medical marijuana. Not in a bit. Not soon. Right goddamn now.
US and Turkey agree on temporary cease fire to allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw from northeast Syria
The United States and Turkey have agreed to a temporary cease fire to allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a safe zone that Turkey is establishing along its border with Syria, Vice President Mike Pence announced on Thursday.