Pentagon Announces Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan-2,500 troops to remain.
The Pentagon has announced a ‘significant’ troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. President Donald Trump had been expected to cut a number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and a smaller number in Iraq by the final days of his presidency, U.S. officials said Monday. The plan runs counter to military commanders’ advice over the past year, while still falling short of Trump’s much-touted goal to end America’s long wars.
The decision comes just days after Trump installed a new slate of loyalists in top Pentagon positions who share his frustration with the continued troop presence in the war zones. But the expected plans would leave 2,500 troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan, meaning that President-elect Joe Biden would be the fourth president to grapple with the still-smouldering conflicts launched in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
U.S. officials said military leaders were told over the weekend about the planned withdrawals and that an executive order is in the works but has not yet been delivered to commanders. Officials cautioned that there could always be changes, and Trump is known to make snap decisions based on media reports and online chatter. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
There are somewhere between 4,500 to 5,000 troops in Afghanistan and more than 3,000 in Iraq although it is common for military sources not to divulge actual troop numbers.
As news broke about the plan, Republican leaders on Capitol Hill issued stark warnings about making any hasty exit from Afghanistan that could jeopardize the peace process and undermine counterterrorism efforts.
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