TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - "We are only 90 days into this new policy, but with the US 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," Nicholson told NBC News.
Nicholson's assessment of the overall status of the war in Afghanistan reflected President Donald Trump’s speech he gave in a video conference Thursday to US troops in that country.
"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 told members of the Army's 82nd Airborne First Brigade Combat Team.
"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."
Trump outlined his strategy in Afghanistan in August, indicating that American troops would remain in the country for an indefinite period of time. The announcement was followed up by the deployment of 3,000 additional troops.
That was a major U-turn for Trump, who as a candidate had denounced the US military intervention in Afghanistan as a “total disaster” that drained resources at a time of more pressing needs at home.
Nicholson, meanwhile, said the new strategy has created momentum for the United States.
"This change in policy has reversed this decline that we've been in since 2011," he said, adding that the drawdown of US troops in Afghanistan was “too far and too fast.”
“We communicated to the enemy that we had lost our will to win, and now with a new policy as of August, we are going to win. And winning means delivering a negotiated settlement that reduces the level of violence and protecting the homeland,” the four-star general said.
As Trump weighed his options in Afghanistan this summer, he expressed frustration with the lack of progress in America’s longest war, suggesting that he might dismiss Nicholson for failing to win the war.
Nicholson has said he needs nearly 16,000 troops in Afghanistan, and NATO allies have pledged to help make up the difference.
The United States -- under George W. Bush’s presidency -- and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror.
The offensive removed the Taliban regime from power, but after more than 16 years the country is plagued by violence and insecurity.