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World Trump admin intends to announce Afghanistan drawdown as early as next week

00:16  15 december  2019
00:16  15 december  2019 Source:   nbcnews.com

Landslide kills 6 Afghans in Taliban-controlled district

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A day after a contested decision to pull American military forces from Syria, officials said Thursday that President Trump has ordered the start of a reduction of America’s 14,000 forces in Afghanistan . The move will come as the first stage of a phased drawdown and the start of a conclusion to the 17-year

Graham, one of Trump ’s closest allies on Capitol Hill, has repeatedly warned the president not to trust the Taliban to control al-Qaeda and other militant groups in Afghanistan . Some within the Trump administration have sent the same message. Trump has maintained that bringing U.S. troops home

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration intends to announce the drawdown of about 4,000 troops from Afghanistan as early next week, according to three current and former U.S. officials. The withdrawal will leave between 8,000 and 9,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the officials said.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Image: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and President Donald Trump© Tom Brenner Image: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and President Donald Trump

The announcement comes just days after Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad rejoined diplomatic talks with the Taliban, which had broken down in September. On Thursday Amb. Khalilzad said the U.S. was "taking a brief pause" in talks after a Wednesday attack near Bagram Airfield killed two Afghan civilians and wounded 70 more.

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KABUL, Afghanistan — Last year, when President Trump announced a new strategy 16 years into the Just this week , senior American diplomats had conducted two days of extensive talks with A senior member of the insurgency said the drawdown was a sign that Mr. Trump realized negotiations

The Trump administration is considering a “significant drawdown ” of U.S. troops in Afghanistan that could begin in the coming weeks , The Wall Street On Wednesday, President Trump announced that he intends to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, a move that was not supported by the Pentagon or the

The U.S. has between 12,000 and 13,000 troops in Afghanistan now. The officials would not say when the drawdown would begin, but did characterize it as a phased withdrawal that would occur over a few months. Two U.S. officials said the drawdown would be a combination of troops re-deploying early and others not being replaced when they rotate out.

a group of people standing on top of a snow covered slope: Image: U.S. troops patrol at an Afghan National Army (ANA) base in Logar province, Afghanistan© Omar Sobhani Image: U.S. troops patrol at an Afghan National Army (ANA) base in Logar province, Afghanistan

In a statement, a spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said, "U.S. Forces-Afghanistan has not received orders to reduce troop levels in Afghanistan. We remain fully committed to the Resolute Support mission and our Afghan partners, and focused on our key objective: ensuring Afghanistan is never again used as a safe haven for terrorists who threaten the United States, our allies or our interests."

Senator says Trump could decide to withdraw troops from Afghanistan within weeks

  Senator says Trump could decide to withdraw troops from Afghanistan within weeks Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Monday that President Donald Trump could decide in the next few weeks to announce a partial withdrawal of thousands of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. © Rahmat Gul/AP Senator Lindsey Graham speaks during a press conference at the Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 16, 2019. During a visit to Kabul, the South Carolina Republican said he could support a decision by Trump to reduce troop levels from about 12,000 to 8,600 -- a figure that Trump expressed support for this past August. “The Afghan security forces are getting more capable,” Graham told reporters in Kabul.

The drawdown reportedly could begin as early as next month but neither the White House nor the She praised last week ’s peace talks in the United Arab Emirates between the U.S. and the Afghan Some analysts say the Trump administration 's reported withdrawal plans could have stemmed from

The Trump administration ’s order to withdraw roughly 7,000 American troops is an abrupt shift in the 17-year-old war in Afghanistan . When announcing a new Afghan strategy last year, Mr. Trump was critical of the Obama administration for openly signaling to the Taliban its plans for a drawdown .

President Donald Trump has pushed for a withdrawal from Afghanistan for some time, including during his recent visit to Afghanistan on Thanksgiving, his first as commander in chief.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told an audience at the Reagan National Defense Forum last weekend that the reduction of U.S. troops will happen even if the Taliban does not negotiate an agreement, and that the commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, has said he can sustain a reduction in forces.

"The commander feels confident we can go down to a lower level without jeopardizing our ability to ensure that Afghanistan doesn't become a safe haven for terrorism," Esper said, adding that he hopes to reallocate forces from CENTCOM to the Asia Pacific region, which he called his "priority theater."

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The timeline for drawing down troops in Afghanistan is still unclear. "Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position," Mattis said in the letter he wrote to Mr. Trump .

The announcement of withdrawal is "part of trying to reset the talks with the Taliban," the former defense official said. Khalilzad can then propose to the Taliban that the two sides restart negotiations where they left off, with the U.S. withdrawing troops and the Taliban promising a ceasefire.

"This takes us to the minimum that you have to keep in the country to remain credible negotiating with the Taliban," the former official said.

In October Esper said the U.S. could decrease to 8,600 troops without affecting the counterterror operations.

The commander of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Frank McKenzie, participated in meetings Thursday to discuss the footprint for U.S. troops in the Middle East, according to three U.S. officials. The discussion also included talk of increasing the U.S. military footprint in other parts of the Middle East to counter the threat from Iran.

Trump has promised since campaigning for the White House in 2016 to end wars like the one in Afghanistan and reduce the number of U.S. troops deployed overseas. His advisers have over the past three years convinced him not to pull the plug on the Afghanistan mission, but the president showed a willingness to take such a step in October when he abruptly pulled U.S. troops out of Syria.

Trump had made clear to his advisers earlier this year that he wanted to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the November 2020 election.

"It's all about talking points in 2020," the former official said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Green Beret killed in Afghanistan is identified .
The Pentagon has identified the U.S. service member who died in Afghanistan on Monday as Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael James Goble. © US Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael James Goble, 33, a U.S. Special Forces Soldier, died in Afghanistan, December 23rd due to injuries sustained during combat operations, December 22, 2019. His death was the 20th combat fatality in Afghanistan this year, making 2019 the deadliest year for U.S. troops in that country in five years. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

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