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Rex Tillerson phones PM Abbasi; discusses new South Asia strategy

Rex Tillerson phones PM Abbasi; discusses new South Asia strategy
August 22, 2017
WASHINGTON (92 News) – US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has on Tuesday telephoned Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to discuss how Pakistan can help in shaping President Donald Trump’s new South Asia strategy. During the telephonic conversation, matters pertaining to Trump administration’s new approach on Afghanistan and South Asia came under discussion. Tillerson also spoke with India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and discussed the new South Asia strategy. US President Donald Trump opened the door to an increase in US troops in Afghanistan as part of a retooled strategy for the region, overcoming his own doubts about America’s longest war and vowing “a fight to win.” Trump, in a televised address at a military base near Washington, said his new approach was aimed at preventing Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for militants bent on attacking the United States. The Republican president, who has repeatedly criticized the Afghanistan strategies of his predecessors, now inherits the same challenges, including a resurgent Taliban and a weak government in Kabul. He is laying the groundwork for greater US involvement without a clear end in sight or providing specific benchmarks for success. In a speech with few details, Trump did not specify how many more troops would be added, gave no timeline for ending the US presence in Afghanistan, and put pressure on Pakistan, India and NATO allies to step up their own commitment. But officials said he had signed off on Defense Secretary James Mattis' plans to send about 4,000 more to add to the 8,400 now deployed in Afghanistan.