By Agence France-Presse
US President Donald Trump on Thursday declared that the Islamic State group is crumbling, as he met with Pentagon officials to discuss America’s military campaigns and progress in eradicating “radical Islamic terrorism.”
“We’re doing very well against ISIS. ISIS is falling fast, very fast,” Trump said as he arrived at the Defense Department.
Trump campaigned heavily on the promise to defeat IS, and during his inaugural address he promised to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.”
The jihadists are far from being wiped out, but the Trump White House can boast of some big wins against the extremists, who this month lost their one-time bastion of Mosul in Iraq.
Trump signed an executive order soon after taking office instructing his generals to come up with a revised plan to wipe the jihadists out. Though the strategy has yet to be fully unveiled, parts of it are already in play.
Like the Obama administration’s strategy, it relies on air power and the training of local troops to conduct the ground war in Iraq and Syria.
The biggest change Trump has made is giving Pentagon chief Jim Mattis new authorities to set troop levels and to move forces more quickly around the battlefield.
The president also decided to arm Kurdish fighters battling IS in Syria, much to the dismay of ally Turkey, which views the fighters as “terrorists.”