Ivanka Trump Wants America to Help Women in Afghanistan, a Country Her Father Wanted to Abandon

Ivanka Trump told a conference on empowering women in Afghanistan that the United States "stands side by side with the brave Afghan women and girls," despite her father's reported impatience with America's ongoing role in the war-torn country.

According to the book Fear, written by investigative journalist Bob Woodward, President Donald Trump is frustrated by America's long, deadly and costly war in Afghanistan, questioning why the military is even there. Before becoming president, Trump also repeatedly called for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

American-led forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001 after September 11 in search of Osama Bin Laden, the terror attack mastermind and leader of Islamist militant group al-Qaeda. Afghanistan was a broken state ruled by Taliban militants which had become a hub for terror training camps.

Since then, the war has cost American taxpayers over $1 trillion, according to The Balance, which monitors expenditure on Afghanistan. And according to iCasualties, which monitors military deaths, there have been 2,200 American fatalities in Afghanistan so far.

Though the Taliban is no longer in control, pockets of resistance continue to fight on across Afghanistan, and new threats, such as the militant group Islamic State have emerged. The fear is that if America withdraws, militants will retake Afghanistan, which is now, at least, a fledgling democracy where citizens have greater freedoms than before the war.

But for women, life remains particularly hard. According to a 2011 study by the Thomson-Reuters Foundation, Afghanistan is the most dangerous country in the world for women because of the oppression, discrimination, and violence they continue to face.

"The United States stands side by side with the brave Afghan women and girls as they strive to create a stable and prosperous future for their children and families," White House advisor Ivanka Trump told the conference, held in Kazakhstan, by video message.

"We know that countries do better when women are able to participate fully in their societies. Afghan women leaders have long fought for basic health, economic and political rights against the obstacles of poverty, injustice and violence.

"Supporting women's empowerment is therefore fundamental to the future direction of Afghanistan. The status and disposition of women will determine whether or not Afghanistan will be a civilized member of the community of nations or will dissolve back into an oppressive and brutal society like that which we saw during the Taliban rule."

In Woodward's book Fear, Trump is alleged to have dressed down generals at a National Security Council meeting in July 2017 over Afghanistan.

"The soldiers on the ground could run things much better than you," Trump told them, according to a section of the book highlighted by The Washington Post. "They could do a much better job. I don't know what the hell we're doing."

He then asked: "How many more deaths? How many more lost limbs? How much longer are we going to be there?"

Prior to becoming president in January 2017, Trump repeatedly called for America to withdraw from Afghanistan.

"It is time to get out of Afghanistan. We are building roads and schools for people that hate us. It is not in our national interests," Trump tweeted in 2012.

In another tweet, he wrote: "Why are we continuing to train these Afghanis who then shoot our soldiers in the back? Afghanistan is a complete waste. Time to come home!"

Trump also tweeted: "We have wasted an enormous amount of blood and treasure in Afghanistan. Their government has zero appreciation. Let's get out!"

However, Trump has actually increased troop numbers in Afghanistan, despite his view of the war as a futile waste of money and lives. In August 2017, he outlined his administration's plan for Afghanistan and admitted that his "original instinct was to pull out."

"A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and Al-Qaeda, would instantly fill, just as happened before September 11. And as we know, in 2011, America hastily and mistakenly withdrew from Iraq," Trump said in his speech.

However, Trump made clear that America's priority was not to rebuild Afghanistan or "dictate…how to live." Instead it is to "kill terrorists."

"Ultimately, it is up to the people of Afghanistan to take ownership of their future, to govern their society, and to achieve an everlasting peace," Trump said. "We are a partner and a friend, but we will not dictate to the Afghan people how to live or how to govern their own complex society. We are not nation building again. We are killing terrorists."

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White House Senior Adviser Ivanka Trump speaks alongside US President Donald Trump at US Steel's Granite City Works steel mill in Granite City, Illinois July 26, 2018. Ivanka Trump wants America to stand "side by side" with women in Afghanistan. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Ivanka Trump Wants America to Help Women in Afghanistan, a Country Her Father Wanted to Abandon | U.S.