- The president said that Afghanistan could "be wiped off the face of the Earth."
- His comments came before a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who Trump says can help the US extricate itself from Afghanistan.
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President Donald Trump said he could win the war in Afghanistan a brutal conflict the US has been waging for nearly two decades "in a week," but he doesn't want to kill roughly one third of the country's population.
"If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win that war in a week," the president said Monday.
"I just don't want to kill 10 million people," he added. "I don't want to kill 10 million people. I have plans on Afghanistan that if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth. It would be gone. It would be over in literally in ten days."
The president, who lamented US forces serving as policemen rather than soldiers, did not elaborate on what methods such a plan might employ. In the exchange with media, Trump bragged about dropping the "Mother of All Bombs," also known as the MOAB, on Afghanistan.
"We dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb ever built in history. We dropped it in Afghanistan. We were getting ready to make many of those bombs," he said. "It left a hole in the Earth that looked like the moon. It looked like a crater from the moon, still there. Nobody has ever seen anything like it."
The US dropped the 21,000-pound MOAB against a series of ISIS facilities and tunnels in April 2017, early in Trump's presidency.
Trump called massive bombing like the MOAB an "easy solution" but said that he's not interested in going that route. "I have not chosen that," he explained. "Why would we kill millions of people? It wouldn't be fair. In terms of humanity it wouldn't be fair."
The president's comments come amid an important meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has been invited to the White House for the first time to discuss the Taliban and a path to peace in Afghanistan. In his comments to the press, Trump suggested that Pakistan "is going to help us out to extricate ourselves" from the military conflict that began shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks a conflict that Pakistani military and intelligence officials have reportedly helped fuel.
Trump, who supports an "America First" foreign policy, has repeatedly expressed his desire to see US troops withdraw from the Middle East. Speaking to reporters Monday, he argued that the US troops in Afghanistan have done what they is supposed to do.
"We've been in there not fighting to win, just fighting to they're building gas stations. They're rebuilding schools. The United States, we shouldn't be doing that. That's for them to do. But, what we did and what our leadership got us into is ridiculous."
Trump has stated that he wants to pull troops out of Afghanistan, and the administration has started reducing the number of troops in country. But he has yet to pull all US troops out because he is concerned about the spread of extremism in the wake of a US withdrawal.
"Look, I would like to just get out," Trump told Fox News' Tucker Carlson earlier this month. "The problem is, it just seems to be a lab for terrorists. It seems I call it the 'Harvard of terrorists.'"