Trump has repeatedly questioned the purpose of America's continued involvement in Afghanistan
He also made contradictory statements about whether the war should have been fought
President Donald Trump will outline the United States’ path forward in Afghanistan in a speech Monday night – but he’s been speaking out on the Afghanistan War for years.
Trump’s address, scheduled for 9 p.m. ET Monday at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, comes after Trump and Secretary of Defense James Mattis said a decision has been made on a new US strategy in Afghanistan.
Trump has often commented about the situation in Afghanistan, where the US led an invasion of the country in 2001 to topple the Taliban from power and eliminate a “safe haven” for al Qaeda. The war eventually became the United States’ longest in history, and in 2014 President Barack Obama declared an end to combat operations.
But US support for the new Afghan government continued, and as of 2017 the Taliban remained a powerful force in the country. Gen. John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, said in February that the US and Afghanistan were at a stalemate with the Taliban.
Over the years, Trump repeatedly questioned the purpose of America’s continued involvement in Afghanistan, but he also made contradictory statements about whether the war should have been fought in the first place.
Trump’s most recent tweet on the topic was a quick recap of his military team’s discussions on how to move forward in Afghanistan – and he said that a decision had been made.
Here’s a look back at what Trump has said about Afghanistan in the past:
October 7, 2011
“When will we stop wasting our money on rebuilding Afghanistan? We must rebuild our country first,” he tweeted in October 2011.
February 27, 2012
“It is time to get out of Afghanistan. We are building roads and schools for people that hate us. It is not in our national interests,” he tweeted in February 2012.
March 12, 2012
“Afghanistan is a total disaster. We don’t know what we are doing. They are, in addition to everything else, robbing us blind,” he tweeted in March 2012.
August 21, 2012
“Why are we continuing to train these Afghanis who then shoot our soldiers in the back? Afghanistan is a complete waste. Time to come home!” he tweeted in August 2012.
January 14, 2013
“I agree with Pres. Obama on Afghanistan. We should have a speedy withdrawal. Why should we keep wasting our money – rebuild the U.S.!” He tweeted in January 2013.
March 1, 2013
“We should leave Afghanistan immediately. No more wasted lives. If we have to go back in, we go in hard & quick. Rebuild the US first,” Trump tweeted in March 2013.
May 8, 2013
“We continue to lose our nation’s finest in Afghanistan almost daily. The Rules of Engagement are costing lives.” he tweeted in May 2013.
November 20, 2013
“Afghanistan leaders want the U.S. to keep 20,000 troops there for many more years, fully paid for by the U.S., but first they want apology.” he tweeted in November 2013.
December 1, 2014
“Now Obama is keeping our soldiers in Afghanistan for at least another year. He is losing two wars simultaneously,” Trump tweeted December 2014.
October 6, 2015
Trump said he believed that invading Afghanistan in 2001 was a “terrible mistake,” but he added US troops need to stay in order to avoid a collapse of the government.
“We made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place,” Trump said. “It’s a mess, it’s a mess and at this point we probably have to (leave US troops in Afghanistan) because that thing will collapse in about two seconds after they leave.”
While Trump has long called the Iraq War a mistake, this interview on CNN’s “New Day” appears to be the first time Trump has described the US war in Afghanistan in the same terms.
October 20, 2015
Trump said the US was right to invade Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks – a reversal of his position earlier in October 2015 when he called the war a “mistake.”
“We made a mistake going into Iraq. I’ve never said we made a mistake going into Afghanistan,” Trump told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day” when pressed about his comments.
December 21, 2015
“A suicide bomber has just killed U.S. troops in Afghanistan. When will our leaders get tough and smart. We are being led to slaughter!” Trump tweeted in 2015.
August 19, 2017
“Important day spent at Camp David with our very talented Generals and military leaders. Many decisions made, including on Afghanistan,” Trump tweeted last week.