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The real deal Trump has to make on Afghanistan

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Donald Trump mentioned Afghanistan just once in his speech to the United Nations Tuesday. His “new strategy for victory” there, he said, would help “crush the loser terrorists and stop the reemergence of safe havens they use to launch attacks on all of our people.”

Trump outlined that new strategy on August 21, in an address that was a curious mixture of the vague and the specific. Speaking at Fort Myer, the U.S. president announced plans to deploy additional American troops, but did not give details about numbers, policy specifics or an exit strategy. He mentioned Pakistan 12 times – criticizing it for “housing the very terrorists that we are fighting” – but did not make a single mention of the two other countries ramping up resistance to the U.S. presence in the region: Iran and Russia.

That was a serious omission on Trump’s part. No U.S. plan for Afghanistan can accomplish even its most minimal objective of destroying militant groups like al Qaeda or the Taliban unless it factors in the mounting evidence that Tehran and Moscow are playing a more aggressive role in resisting the American presence in the region.

Sharif Yaftali, chief of general staff of the Afghan national army, told the BBC in an exclusive interview on September 6 that Kabul........

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