The Pentagon has told commanders to prepare to withdraw another 2,500 US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Trump administration has fulfilled its pledge to revive the troops and end the “eternal war” in the United States.
Defense officials told the Financial Times that a “warning order” was recently issued to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq by 2,000 and 500, respectively. Currently, there are 4,500 troops in Afghanistan and 3,000 in Iraq.
The verbal instructions first reported by CNN to prepare to reduce troop numbers by January 15 stopped short of the final drawdown decision from the White House, known as the “executive order.”
“This is a precursor to an execution order directing these changes,” said defense officials, and official orders were scheduled to be added by the end of this week.
U.S. military commanders have repeatedly resisted the reduction of troop numbers in Afghanistan, claiming that very few people cannot work. The Pentagon did not respond to the request for comment, and the White House’s National Security Council declined to comment.
Donald Trump, who refused to accept the presidential election after losing to rival Joe Biden, campaigned with a promise to regain his army from America’s “eternal war.”
If the cuts are completed by January 15, it will be difficult for Biden to reverse the order until five days after his inauguration, given that Biden has no plans to take over from Trump. Similar warning orders have been issued in the past, but did not lead to the withdrawal of the military.
“The direction is arbitrary and capricious. What we understand now is up to us. [Mr Trump] That means, “said a US defense official. Officials added that there was no clear guidance on how the location and mission of US troops on the ground would be affected.
Last week, Mr. Trump dismissed Mark Esper as Minister of Defense and replaced him with Chris Miller, a former Army officer who worked in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Mr. Trump has also assigned several officials who appear to be loyal to him in the role of other senior Pentagons.
Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell opposed the withdrawal plan on Monday, saying the early withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan would “wrap around the Taliban” and hurt its allies.
“A chaotic withdrawal will jeopardize the key successes the administration has been working on to bring it together,” he said, adding that only the “minority” would support a rapid drawdown in Congress. ..
Mr. Trump tweeted last month that all troops should “go home by Christmas.” Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Mr. Trump’s chief military adviser, later told NPR that further US withdrawals would be “conditional.”
After the Trump administration signed an agreement with the Taliban in February, the United States has already reduced Afghanistan’s troops from 14,000 last year to 4,500.
The deal required reduction of violence against US troops by Islamist groups in exchange for the withdrawal of the United States. It also presupposed negotiations within Afghanistan to end the war, but it began late and has not yet ended.
In his first speech to the entire Pentagon, Miller wrote that he was one of those “sick of the war” and “when he returned home.”
But in the same letter sent Saturday, he argued that the United States had to avoid “the past strategic mistake of overlooking the fight to the end” and “at risk” to defeat al-Qaeda. I have. ” That companion.
Afghan veteran Bradley Bowman, now a member of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said national security interests, not the “political calendar,” should determine US military stance in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was.
He is one of the analysts who believe that the main beneficiaries of the early withdrawal from Iraq are Iran and Isis, and that the complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan can bring victory to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
Brookings Institution analyst Michael O’Hanlon said he was “too fast and too big” to reduce his army to 2,500 in Afghanistan, although he didn’t have a magic number. .. He said it would be difficult for skeletal units alone to protect the rest of the military base.
Pentagon signals military drawdown in Afghanistan and Iraq
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