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World Downsized US force in Afghanistan would still pack 'lethal punch': Trump ally

18:41  16 december  2019
18:41  16 december  2019 Source:   msn.com

Landslide kills 6 Afghans in Taliban-controlled district

  Landslide kills 6 Afghans in Taliban-controlled district A landslide in a remote, Taliban-controlled district in northeastern Afghanistan killed at least six people, all of them poor villagers mining the hillside for gold, officials said Thursday. The landslide took place on Wednesday in the district of Raghistan in Badakhshan province, said provincial council member Abdullah Naji Nazari. The province, nestled in the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges and bordering China, is one of the most remote in the country.The six were among dozens of villagers who were digging for gold in the area, a common practice among the villagers in the impoverished region.

The United States would withdraw 5,400 troops from Afghanistan within 20 weeks as part of a deal But he said final approval still rested with US President Donald Trump . A huge blast rocked Kabul Many in Afghanistan fear that a US -Taliban deal could see hard-won rights and freedoms eroded.

That was how US planners like Zbigniew Brzezinski gleefully referred to Afghanistan and their nefarious scheme to inflict on the Soviets what the A further impact from Washington’s sanctions on Iran is that landlocked Afghanistan will not be able to avail of Iranian sea ports for imports and exports.

The US military can slash its troop presence in Afghanistan and still pack a "lethal punch," an influential American lawmaker and close confidant to President Donald Trump said Monday.

Lindsey Graham holding a book: US Senator Lindsey Graham speaks during a press conference at the Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul© FARSHAD USYAN US Senator Lindsey Graham speaks during a press conference at the Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham also said it would be "insane" for the US to trust the Taliban to keep Al-Qaeda and other jihadists in check, attacking a cornerstone of a prospective deal between Washington and the Taliban.

Graham's remarks came a day after US media reported that the Trump administration could announce plans as early  this week to withdraw around 4,000 troops from Afghanistan.

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

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

Still , while Trump signaled the US would increase troop levels in Afghanistan , he offered no indication of how many thousands more US soldiers would be deployed, nor would he discuss troop levels or further plans for military activities, echoing a promise he made on the campaign trail.

The War in Afghanistan (or the US War in Afghanistan or the Afghanistan War or the Fourth Anglo- Afghan War), code named Operation Enduring Freedom (2001–14)

The drawdown would mean about 8,600 US troops remained in Afghanistan, down from the current total of between 12-13,000.

Graham suggested the official announcement might not be as imminent as was suggested in the American press.

"If President Trump decides in the next few weeks to reduce our forces below the 12,000 we have, I could support that," Graham told reporters in Kabul.

"With 8,600 American forces aligned in the right configuration, we would have a very lethal punch".

Addressing the on-again, off-again negotiations between the US and the Taliban that have been taking place in Doha this year, Graham took issue with a central component of an eventual deal, which centres on the US withdrawing forces in return for a Taliban promise to fight Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

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.

Although Trump has delegated authority for US troop numbers in Afghanistan , the responsibility His predecessors both had hoped to win the war. Bush scored a quick success, helping allied militant Mattis has repeatedly stressed that increasing the number of US troops in Afghanistan would take

The United States Air Force reported dropping about 1,250 Though Mr. Trump ’s Afghan strategy announcement came on Monday, discussion On Thursday, General Nicholson characterized the new strategy in Afghanistan as defining success by conditions on the ground and not “arbitrary timelines.”

"The Taliban may not be trusted to be a reliable counterterrorism force," Graham said.

"The idea that any agreement would count on the Taliban to police, be the counterterrorism force to the American homeland, is a nonstarter."

Graham is thought to have been key in persuading Trump in September to drop the deal with the Taliban, even though the US and the insurgents had all but signed off on it.

In order to get talks back on track, the Taliban in recent weeks have reduced violence in Kabul.

But Graham suggested the insurgents were still not to be trusted, referencing a deadly attack at Bagram air base outside of Kabul last week.

"To the brilliant masterminds who planned the Bagram attack, you've probably done more to set back the process than anything I could think of," the senator said.

Graham also briefly visited Pakistan, where he met with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Graham, who has made various public assessments about the extent of Islamabad's support of the Taliban, said Trump's relationship with Khan was strong and possible trade deals could be coming.

"I told President Trump that the one thing that no one's really ever done in this long war is set out in Pakistan and say, OK, let's talk about a free trade agreement. ... But here are the things that we want you to do on the security side," Graham said.

United Nations: Afghan war caused 100,000 civilian casualties in last decade .
More than 100,000 Afghan civilians have been killed or injured over the past decade, the United Nations reported Thursday.The announcement comes as the Taliban and US continue to hold talks aimed at drawing a close to America's longest war, after the negotiations were called off in September by President Donald Trump due to insurgent attacks.

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