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Eli Lake

Trump's Afghan Push: More Troops, No Plan

The president campaigned against nation-building. But he hasn't decided what to do instead.
The Afghan military relies on U.S. support.

The Afghan military relies on U.S. support.

Photographer: Hoshang Hashimi/AFP/Getty Images

Usually when a president agrees to send more troops to a war zone, it's part of a broader strategy. George W. Bush approved the surge of forces to Iraq as part of a population-centric counterinsurgency war plan. Barack Obama did the same in his first year when it came to Afghanistan, though he eventually regretted the decision, and spent most of his presidency trying to end that war.

For Donald Trump it's different. On Tuesday, he agreed in principle to send more troops to Afghanistan, but he has yet to agree to the broader strategy for winning America's longest war.