Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan
Officials say about 7,000 troops or about half of the remaining US military presence in the country could go home within months.
Reports say that this is the latest sign that the US president’s patience with America’s longest war is wearing thin.
The news comes a day after Trump’s decision to pull American military forces out of Syria which was swiftly followed by the abrupt resignation of US defense secretary Jim Mattis
RT reports: Trump has grown increasingly frustrated over the Afghan stalemate, pushing for the end of the 17-year-long US campaign in the country in the past several weeks, ABC News reported, citing a US official.
“What are we doing there. We’ve been there all these years,” Trump reportedly told an ally at a meeting on Wednesday, Reuters reported. The same day Trump is said to have discussed the potential pullout or a considerable reduction of the US force with his outgoing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his hawkish national security adviser John Bolton.
The commander-in-chief, however, has not found support for his withdrawal plan, according to ABC. Hours before the deliberations have been reported by US media, Mattis handed in his resignation letter, citing differences in views with the President.
While ABC News, citing a US official, reported that troops might leave the war-torn country “in the coming weeks,” NBC News, citing two other defense officials, said no concrete decision has yet been made and that the Pentagon is likely to present its report “shortly after the new year.”
The reports come at a time when part of the American public and even Trump’s allies in the Republican Party have been incensed over his decision to withdraw some 2,000 American troops from Syria after declaring “victory” over Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) there.
The possible scale-down in the American war on terror in Afghanistan, which has dragged on since 2001, has caught many off-guard and elicited cautious praise from some of Trump’s usual opponents, like Hillary Clinton’s former foreign policy spokesman Jesse Lehrich, who called it “a lot less stupid” than withdrawing 2,000 troops from Syria.
surely it won’t be done responsibly, but a drawdown of the 14,000 troops in Afghanistan –– where an 18-year war has yielded little progress –– is a lot less stupid than withdrawing the 2,000 troops in Syria who helped crush ISIS’s caliphate & are still serving an essential role.
— Jesse Lehrich (@JesseLehrich) December 20, 2018
One of Trump’s most vocal critics, Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu, gave Trump a rare thumbs-up, tweeting: “I don’t care who the President is; if @POTUS gets out of endless wars, I will support that action.”
I have long opposed using military force in Syria, Afghanistan & Yemen for many reasons, including lack of a strategy & lack of an achievable desired end state using force.
I don’t care who the President is; if @POTUS gets us out of endless wars, I will support that action.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) December 20, 2018