Colorado leaders slow to react to Trump’s troop increases in Afghanistan

Author: Joey Bunch - August 22, 2017 - Updated: August 31, 2017

Trump on AfghanistanPresident Trump talks about stepping up the nation’s engagement in Afghanistan and South Asia Monday might. (Via CNN)

Updated: Sen. Michael Bennet released a statement Tuesday afternoon in response to President Trump military expansion in Afghanistan.

“President Trump offered only vague details on an Afghanistan strategy and failed to answer critical questions. To commit more resources to our longest war, we deserve to know: What does winning mean and what are the conditions for withdrawal?; How does the administration plan to build support from allies and partners?; How will the administration carry out this strategy without funding the State Department?; and how will this make our country more secure?

“The administration should provide these answers, and Congress must have a vigorous debate before we invest more blood and treasure.”


Our original story:

Colorado leaders were slow to react to President Trump’s plan to step up the nation’s engagement in Afghanistan and South Asia Monday night.

Only Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat from Boulder, commented Monday night.

“I opposed President Obama’s troop buildup in Afghanistan, and I oppose President Trump’s. Ongoing boondoggle costs American blood and money,” Polis said on Twitter.

None of the other eight issued a statement or a tweet Monday night.

Fort Carson in El Paso County could see soldiers deployed, if history serves.

The base is home to more than 25,000 military personnel.

Trump wouldn’t talk about timelines or numbers, however, saying that’s part of the strategy he promised as a candidate.

“Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary time tables will guide our strategy from now on,” Trump said Monday night.

The Washington Post and other media sources said senior administration officials are putting the number at about 4,000 troops.

The president called terrorists “losers.”

“We will defeat them and defeat them handily,” he vowed.

The plan is the result of meetings with the president and his advisers Friday at Camp David, the result of gains the Taliban and al-Qaeda have made against U.S.-backed Afghan troops.

The war has been fought in Afghanistan on some level since the early days after 9/11.

As a candidate, Trump questioned a long-term engagement there but said it was unavoidable.

“We made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place,” Trump told CNN in October 2015. “We had real brilliant thinkers that didn’t know what the hell they were doing and it’s a mess. It’s a mess. And this point you probably have to, because that thing will collapse ab out two seconds after they leave.”

Trump said Mondayt night that America could not repeat the mistakes it made by withdrawing from Iraq “hastily and mistakenly” in 2011.

“As a result our hard-worn gains slipped back into the hands of terrorist enemies,” he said. “Our soldiers watched as cities they had fought for and bled to liberate and won were occupied by a terrorist group called ISIS.

“The vacuum we created by leaving too soon gave safe haven for ISIS to spread.”

In 2011, Trump tweeted:

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.