‘Still in a Stalemate,’ Says Top US Commander in Afghanistan

Afghanistan US Tillerson
AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool

America's top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, told NBC News Thursday that the war here remains in a "stalemate," but that President Donald Trump's new strategy has reversed a decline in the U.S. position.

"We are still in a stalemate," Nicholson, a four-star Army general said in an exclusive interview with NBC News. "We are only 90 days into this new policy, but with the U.S. forces that will be arriving, with the new authority that we have been given, put the pressure on external enablers, with the fact that we are condition based and not time based, we've set all the conditions to win."

His comments largely tracked with a more upbeat-sounding assessment Trump gave in a video conference Thursday morning with members of the Army's 82nd Airborne First Brigade Combat Team here.

"I have to say just directly to the folks in Afghanistan: Everybody’s talking about the progress you’ve made in the last few months since I opened it up," Trump said. "We opened it up, we said go ahead, we’re going to fight to win. We’re not fighting anymore to just walk around; we’re fighting to win, and you people are really — you’ve turned it around over the last three to four months like nobody’s seen."

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