U.S. President Donald Trump recently proposed firing the top U.S. Army commander in Afghanistan out of frustration that the war against the Taliban there remains stalemated, media reports said on August 2.
Trump reportedly fumed about the lack of progress during a meeting last month with advisers and demanded to know what the end game would be in a war that has lasted 16 year so far, according to AP, NBC News, Reuters, and other media reports, citing anonymous U.S. officials.
The meeting got stormy when Trump said Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford should consider firing Army General John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, because he was not winning the war.
Reuters reported that Trump also argued that the United States should demand a share of Afghanistan’s estimated $1 trillion in mineral wealth in exchange for U.S. assistance to the Afghan government.
Reuters said Trump complained that the Chinese are profiting from mining operations in Afghanistan while the United States bears the cost of the war.
The meeting took place the day after Trump invited a group of Afghan war veterans to lunch at the White House to brainstorm for ideas on how to win the war.
"I'm going to be talking to you about Afghanistan, what you think, your views," Trump said to the group, telling reporters, "These are people on the ground — know it probably better than anybody."
"We've been there for now close to 17 years," Trump said, "and I want to find out why we've been there for 17 years, how it's going, and what we should do in terms of additional ideas. I've heard plenty of ideas from a lot of people, but I want to hear it from the people on the ground."
The Pentagon has been preparing a new strategy for Afghanistan, and word has leaked that Mattis is recommending an increase in U.S. troops of about 4,000 to the current NATO coalition force of 8,400. But nothing has as yet been approved by Trump.
Another meeting of top Trump advisers is scheduled for August 4, Reuters said.