Trump says he could win war in Afghanistan but doesn't want to 'kill 10 million people'

Trump met with Pakistan's prime minister at the White House on Monday.

July 22, 2019, 2:58 PM

President Donald Trump claimed on Monday he could win the war in Afghanistan in a week, but doesn'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. And I don't want to do -- I don't want to go that route," Trump said.

The president met with Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan for a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office and working lunch at the White House during which Afghanistan was top of the agenda.

"I think Pakistan is going to help us out, to extricate ourselves. We're like police but we're not trying to go where we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan," Trump said.

The president said he could use aggressive military action in Afghanistan, but said he doesn't want to pursue that route because ongoing negotiations with the Taliban are going well.

"We could do a number of the likes of which they've never seen before," Trump said. "I don't want to do that because you're talking about millions of people, and I don't want to do that."

Khan said there is no military solution, but added, "this is the closest we've been to a peace deal in Afghanistan."

PHOTO: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House, July 22, 2019, in Washington.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House, July 22, 2019, in Washington.
Alex Brandon/AP Photo

The support of Pakistan is critical for the Trump administration to end military involvement in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history, and the United States plans to encourage Pakistan to "deepen and sustain" its recent crackdown against militants and terrorists in the region, according to a senior administration official. Last year, Trump cut funding to Islamabad and tweeted, "they would take our money and do nothing for us," pointing his finger specifically at what he has said was Pakistan lack of help in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.

Still, the president said funding for Pakistan could come back depending on how talks go.

Perhaps a signal that Pakistan was willing to get tough on militants ahead of the prime minister visit to the White House, Pakistani officials seized Hafiz Saeed, a U.S. wanted terror suspect with connections to the 2008 Mumbai bombing that killed over 160 people.

Khan also said he will be making news on the release of unidentified hostages soon. Pakistan has not yet released Shakil Afridi, a doctor who reportedly helped track down Osama bin Laden.

Trump also offered to be a mediator in the ongoing conflict between India and Pakistan in Kashmir.

"I've heard so much about Kashmir, such a beautiful name. It's supposed to be such a beautiful part of the world but right now there's just bombs all over the place," Trump said.

"If I can do anything to help that, let me know."

ABC News' Ben Gittleson contributed to this report.

Related Topics