US President Donald Trump said he wants to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan, in an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
“CARLSON: Two American servicemen killed in Afghanistan this week. How much longer do you think our troops will stay?
TRUMP: Well, I’ll tell you. I’ve wanted to pull them out. And you know, I have pulled a lot out. We were at 16,000. We’re down to about 9,000, which a lot of people don’t know.
In Syria, as you know, I’ve pulled most of them out. We’ve defeated the Caliphate. Now when you say Caliphate and defeat, the Caliphate’s land, it’s an area we’ve taken back a hundred percent.
But these people — ISIS — they’re stone cold crazy. So that doesn’t mean somebody is not going to walk into a store and blow up a store, which they do.
So I never say defeated them, but they were decimated. And this went on for a long time and other people didn’t do what I did. We did it. We did it very effectively. Our military, there’s no military like our military in the world. I don’t want to have to use it very often. But we took back the Caliphate.
With Afghanistan, it’s 19 years and we should not have been there 19 years and if we were, you know, it would be nice to fight to win. But it’s just 19 years. They’re building hotels — we are. I mean, we had a Holiday Inn that cost numbers that would be 10 times what it should have cost.
They built a gas station, a pretty famous deal where it costs like $80 million to build a gas station. “
He further praised the US forces, for being the best in the world, but said that when they’ve been in Afghanistan for 19 years it starts to feel more as a “police force.” He further gave Russia as a good example, that doesn’t “police the world.”
“And we have the greatest fighters in the world. But when you’re 19 years, you’re really becoming like a police force. So we have pulled it back. We’re actually negotiating with various people. But we want to get out. We want to get out of a lot of areas that we’re in. We shouldn’t be there. We shouldn’t be there. We’re the policeman for the whole world.
You know, if you look at Russia, Russia doesn’t police the world. Russia has — you know, they police Russia.”
He mentioned China as another positive example:
“You look at China. They don’t police. They don’t have troops everywhere. What they have is, they have people taking out the minerals out of the ground. They don’t have troops. “
He said that the force in Afghanistan has been substantially reduced, and if he could he would withdraw completely.
“I’ll tell you the problem is, look, I would like to just get out. The problem is, it just seems to be a lab for terrorists. It seems — I call it the Harvard of terrorists.
When you look at the World Trade Center, they were trained. They didn’t — by the way, they attacked the wrong country. They didn’t come from Iraq, all right. They came from various other countries.
But they all formed in Afghanistan, and it’s probably because it’s at the base of so many countries, but they all formed and it’s rough mountains and you get a lot of — you know, you get a lot of good hiding places.”
And even if a withdrawal of troops happened, “very strong intelligence” would be left in Afghanistan.
“You have to watch because they do — you know, okay, I’ll give you a tough one. If you were in my position and a great looking central casting and we have great generals, a great central casting general walks up to your office, I say, “We’re getting out.” “Yes, sir. We’ll get out. Yes, sir.”
I’ll say, “What do you think of that?” “Sir, I’d rather attack them over there, then attack them in our land.” In other words, them coming here. That’s always a very tough decision, you know, with what happened with the World Trade Center, et cetera et cetera.
When they say that, you know, no matter how you feel, and you and I feel pretty much very similar. But when you’re standing there, and you have some really talented military people saying, “I’d rather attack them over there than have them hit us over here and fight them on our land.” It’s something you always have to think about.
Now, I would leave and will leave — we will be leaving. Very strong Intelligence, far more than you would normally think because it’s very important, and we can do it that way, too. But we have reduced the forces very substantially in Afghanistan.”
Trump’s comment followed a report by the Associated Press, which cited Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen during peace talks in Qatar with U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.
“We are working to rewrite the draft agreement and incorporate in it clauses that have been agreed upon.”
Thus, it would appear that progress is presumably being made on the agreement between the Taliban and the US.
Nonetheless, the Trump-delcared need to withdraw forces from Afghanistan does not mean that the forces will ever been withdrawn.
A recent example of US withdrawal could be observed in Syria, when it was first “quick and complete,” then it became “slow and in stages,” then it turned out that 200 troops would remain, then 400 would remain. And almost 7 months after Trump announced the withdrawal from Syria it hasn’t been finalized.
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