tv Secretary Tillerson Briefs Reporters on the U.S. Military Approach in... CSPAN August 22, 2017 7:34pm-8:01pm EDT
♪ following the president's secretary ofnight state rex tillerson spoke about the military and diplomatic strategies and have dennis. he and other officials went to pursue. on the i would think if you of your questions on the subject. i think the president did a thorough job talking about a military approach. i think the important part of
time, i thinkant the president has been quite clear. with commanders on the ground to make more decisions and to conduct battlefield operations raised on the conditions on the thatd with the battle plan secretary of state mattis will be approving. that will change the dynamic on the ground considerably. these are some of the tactics that are being deployed with the campaign to defeat isis and in syria and iraq. we are taking a lot of lessons from our second from our second that from our success. this will take some time where our military to go through so you training. the fighting will still be done by the afghani forces.
that we can turn the tide on what has been a losing battle over the last year and a half or so. situation weze the will start to see some battlefield victories on the part of the afghan forces. been fighting. certainly on the diplomatic front we are going to adopt conditions based on diplomacy. we are going to condition our efforts made by the afghan government. reformst continue their efforts that we have been working on for some time. morerticular a much rigorous effort around corruption. part of this corruption and wayss the method and which we have been delivering some of our eight, we have not been accountable to ourselves in terms of ensuring our programs are delivering the
results that they were intended to deliver. bye of that was challenged the security environment, and think it is difficult for our aid workers to operate in afghanistan. approve, we have to approach different systems. i think the president was clear this entire effort has been intended to the pressure on the taliban to have them understand that they will not win a battlefield victory parade we may not win one that neither will you. we have to come to the negotiating table to bring this to a and. this is a regional approach. ast of why this took as long it did is because they chose not to focus just on afghanistan. very comprehensive review of our relationships in pakistan and in at india.
we see this inquiry and the integration all three of those strategies. we need to use pakistan and india to also bring pressure to bear on the situation in afghanistan. pakistan and particular camp way a important role here certainly with the taliban at the negotiating table. ofy have suffered ask terrorism, they have suffered exit of terrorism. it is dramatic as any we have seen anywhere. we stand ready to help them address terrorist organizations and their country. they must adopt a different approach themselves. pakistan and the u.s. have historically very good relationships. there has been a real are roshan and the cabinets between our two continents. there has been a eruption of trust did we have witnessed terrorist organizations be given safe haven inside of pakistan to when and carry out attacks against u.s. servicemen.
efforts insidee pakistan. they must adopt a different approach. they are ready to work with them , against his terrorist organizations. with these attacks that are disrupting our peace. to be conditioning our support for pakistan and our relationship with pakistan and they will deliver results and this area. we want to work with pakistan and a positive way. they must change their approach. india is emerging as a.m. strategic partner for the united states. they have laid a important role in some learning that with the government and supporting their economy. it has provided developmental are hosting aey important economic conferences week. all of that is important to stabilize afghanistan and the nation did get their economy
functioning, stabilize the country so that they can provide or opportunities for their citizens. these are all elements of what will lead to stability and a peace agreement. this is a regional effort, the pressure on the parties to understand that this fighting is going to take everyone nowhere. it is time to begin a process that will be a link in process up reconciliation and a cordon in afghanistan. the president can choose the form of government that best suits the needs of the people as long as they reject terrorism. provide -- and will never provide a place to harbor terrorists. how they want to organize themselves as up to them. we have to recognize their culture is a tribal culture. accommodates the nature of those relationships.
there is no reason a form of government cannot accommodate that as well. we want to have a reconciliation these process. we will have them come to some conclusion about how they want accommodate themselves. that is a strategy before i take any questions, i want to make one comment that north korea. out thatt has worked we have had no missile launches or provocative acts for the part of north korea since the unanimous decision of the one security option. i want to take note of that, i want to acknowledge it. i am pleased to see that the regime and the pyongyang has demonstrated some restraint that we have seen in the past. ofope this is the beginning this signal that we have been looking for that they were ready to be restrained their level of retention and ready to restrain the provocative acts. and perhaps we are seeing a
pathway in the near future to having some dialogue. we need to see more on their part but i want to it knowledge the steps they have taken. that is important. i'm happy to take questions. >> please keep your question short. >> thanks. it seems to me that, with the no nationbuilding concept laid out last night, that the main difference other than the timetable part of the military stuff, the main difference between this new approach in the old one is you are eliminating two thirds of what used to be known as the clear, hold, and build strategy. you clear, hold and you build. if that is correct, what happens to the anticorruption efforts that you mentioned? the good governance, the education programs, countering narcotics -- what happens to those? what will that mean for afghan women and girls who have been assured for the last 16 years by two separate administrations? >> i don't want to suggest that
there is a dramatic difference in terms of expectation from afghan government performance. there is been enormous strides achieved in afghanistan in terms of the numbers of millions of children that are now in schools. the role of women in afghan economy has been dramatically changed. i don't expect any of that to be rolled back. that has become part of the afghan government structure. part of what the afghan people themselves expect. if you go back many years ago prior to this disruption, that was afghanistan. that was the nature of afghanistan 30, 40, 50 years ago. it is part of their culture already. we want to support that. in terms of the clear and hold,
that is still the approach. areas will be cleared and afghan security forces can hold those areas. thereby enabling growth in the afghan economy. they do not have control over but a portion of their economy. as the forces are able to hold areas and stabilize them, not giving up further ground. they are still losing ground today as you well know. this will take a little while. stabilize and then regain control. as ground is gained it will be held by afghan security forces while allowing the afghan government to continue what it has been successfully doing under our assistance for many years. and not roll back any of those gains. i do not think that is the aspiration of the afghan government or people either. we will continue to help them institutionally. we may take different approaches and not putting so much u.s. taxpayer dollars on the ground building schools and infrastructures. we think there are plenty of others that we will call upon for assistance as well.
we are there to facilitate and ensure that there is a pathway for reconciliation and peace talks. as the pressure begins to take hold. we believe we already know there are certain moderate elements of the taliban and who we think -- we think will be ready and develop a way forward. how long that will take, will be based on conditions on the ground. >> thank you very mr. secretary, a question, on the military side, want the new rules of engagement mean in the short term, our forces will be potentially doing night raids against the taliban? not just training but actually supporting in a more active role because the afghan troops are not all up
to par to push back against the taliban? and on the diplomatic side, why didn't the president mention rush' rearming -- russia's rearming of the taliban? he seemed to be letting russia off the hook in his speech. do you have enough people, given that they are not trump confirmed diplomatic appointees in the region? >> on the military side, i would defer to the department of defense to answer that. i know the approach is going to be similar to be what we have had success elsewhere. as secretary mattis described it it is a through approach. that is part of the need for troop levels, at the battalion level, organize and help the afghan army fight in a different way. with close ground advisement at the battalion level and the ability to call in support on a more timely basis. it is needed to ensure victory as opposed to stalemate or
defeat. with respect to the comment about russia, to the extent that russia is supplying arms to the taliban, that is a violation of international norms and u.s. security council norms. we certainly would object to that and call russia's attention to that. if anyone is going to supply arms it needs to be through the afghan government. in terms of our footprint on the ground, we have confident and experienced people there now. our afghan ambassador is remaining on the job. we have a pakistan ambassador that has been nominated and we hope to clear that soon. we have nominated a very experienced diplomat, running the embassy in turkey, he is well to step into the situation as well. we are looking at a couple different people for the special representative to afghanistan. it is open currently.
it is being filled today and we are ready to get going with very competent people. i'm not at all concerned about the competency level or the experience of people we have working on this. >> secretary tillerson, i know you don't want to talk about the military but you were using military terms. i understand why the administration does not want to talk about tactical moves? but don't the american people deserve to know approximately how many of their sons and daughters are going back to afghanistan and a war that has lasted 16 years? >> the intent is, there will be visibility to troop levels once
the decision has been made. what the president has conveyed and i agree wholeheartedly is that we are not going to signal ahead what our plans are. we're not going to signal an increase, decrease, timing, any of that. . it will be driven by conditions on the ground the only way we can defeat an enemy that is as nimble and tactical as this enemy, is we have to be as tactical as they are. we have not been fighting that way. >> could that include strikes in pakistan? >> i am not going to comment on what it could include but the president has been clear that we are going to protect american troops and servicemen, attack terrorists wherever they live and we have put people on notice that if you are harboring and providing safe haven to terrorists, be warned. be forewarned. we are going to engage with
people providing safe haven and asked them to change what they are doing and help them help them. because in my view, the greatest benefactor other than the afghan people themselves to achieving stability and peace in afghanistan of the people of pakistan. >> you said no preconditions to talk to it specifically, are you saying that the taliban to accept the afghan constitution, specifically the rights of women? on pakistan, did you do to get it in specific terms, or du plan to, to pakistan the consequences of their actions, whether it be sanctions, dropping their nato ally status -- i mean, what exactly have you communicated or do you plan to communicate? sec. tillerson: i had a good call with the prime minister of pakistan yesterday afternoon to
give them a bit of forewarning on what they would hear in the president's speech, and we also touched on the points i have made to you today. we are going to be engaging them in a very serious and thorough way as to our expectations and the conditions that go with that. all of those things you just listed on the table for discussion if, in fact, they are unwilling to change the posture or change their approach to how they are dealing with the numerous terrorist organizations that find safe haven inside of pakistan. it is in pakistan's interest to take his actions. when we say no preconditions on the talks, i think we are saying, look, the government of afghanistan and the taliban representatives need to sit down and sort this out. it is not for the u.s. to tell them and must be this particular model or under these conditions. i think that is what the
president means when he says we are no longer nationbuilding. look, we have tried taking certain principles and forums around the world, and sometimes it works and a lot of places it does not work. we do not know what is going to merge here. we are going to be there to encourage others, but it is going to be up to the afghan government and the representatives of the taliban to work through a reconciliation process on what will serve their needs and achieve the american people's objectives, which is a security. no safe haven for terrorists to operate anywhere in afghanistan now or in the future. >> mr. secretary, you mentioned the force protection concerns, and going to afghanistan and other discussions, but how are you going to get someone who is able to go out beyond the wire and negotiate and regulate on that basis with members of the
network and the protection concern?
tillerson well, we are going to have to improve security environments. the environment today is not conducive to carrying out those kinds of activities, you are absolutely right. we have to first ensure we are ready to engage when conditions permit us to engage. again, why pakistan is very important, pakistan can facilitate much of that discussion. there are other regional players to which this particular conflict and this unstable situation in afghanistan are important. we have had discussions with the chinese about a role they might be up to play. we have had discussions with the russians about the role they could play if they choose to. certainly, players in the gulf are interested in seeing this area in afghanistan stabilized, as well. so there are a lot of partners on the periphery that i think will have important roles they can play. ultimately, comes down to the afghan government and the taliban representatives.
>> thank you.
going back to pakistan, officials, for quite sometime, democratic and republican administrations, have tried to get the government to stop giving safe haven to the terrorist group. what leverage do you think you have? sec. tillerson: we have some leverage that has been as guest in terms of aid. their status as a non-nato alliance partner -- all of that can be put on the table. at the end of the day, pakistan has to decide what is in their best long-term interest from a security standpoint for themselves and for their people. frankly, as i evaluate pakistan's current situation, if i were the pakistan government,
i would have growing concerns about the strength of the taliban and other organizations inside of pakistan who seem to be growing their numbers and their presence to the point that at some point they become a real threat to the stability of the pakistani government itself. i think they need to be thinking about what is in their best long-term interest, and how can we work with them to achieve a safer, more stable pakistan in the next decades to come, as well. i think it really is up to them. they have to ask themselves that question. why does this work for them, and why is this going to continue to support their stability and the survival of their government in the years ahead if they continue to allow these elements to grow and maintain the presidents inside of -- their presence inside of pakistan? >> thank you, mr. secretary. don't you fear, on the other side, that too much pressure on pakistan -- [indiscernible]
is limited at -- islamabad and all the region, having it stronger in the country? sec. tillerson: that is a concern, but i think it is important that pakistan began to think about its ability to contain these groups, as well. it is why we take a regional approach. the u.s. alone is not going to change this dynamic with pakistan. in pakistan, they have their own issues that they have to continue to work through, but i think there are areas where, perhaps even india, can take some steps to approach issues with pakistan to improve the stability within pakistan and remove some of the reason why they deal with these unstable elements inside their own country. as i said, other regional players have strong interests in pakistan. china has strong interests in pakistan.
having a stable, secure future pakistan is in a lot of our interests. they are a nuclear power here at we have concerns about their weapons. there are many areas in which we believe we should be having very productive dialogue that serves both of our interests and regional interests, as well. again, this is not a situation where the u.s. is saying, look, it is just us and you. our approach is to bring all the other interest into this effort, much as we have done with north korea, assuming a global effort in north korea. too often, it is just the u.s. and some other country, and it is thought that only between the two of us, we have to solve it. we have to bring others into the effort, and that is what we will be doing with pakistan. >> thank you, everyone.
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