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US To Withdraw Half Of Troops From Afghanistan – Reports

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US To Withdraw Half Of Troops From Afghanistan - Reports

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The US military has been ordered to begin planning to withdraw half the troops in Afghanistan, the WSJ reported on December 20th, citing anonymous US officials.

Rumors of the move came one day after US President Donald Trump ordered that US troops withdraw from Syria, despite the Pentagon and senior Senator’s discontent with the decision.

CNN also cited an unnamed US defense official “with direct knowledge on the matter,” who also supported the notion that the withdrawal from Afghanistan had been ordered.

The decision was reportedly made on December 18th, the same day Trump decided the withdrawal from Syria. Both these moves reportedly precipitated US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ resignation on December 20th.

CNN cited multiple officials who claimed that Mattis decision factored in both withdrawals.

US To Withdraw Half Of Troops From Afghanistan - Reports

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Gen. John Allen, a former commander of NATO and US forces in Afghanistan, said that pulling out from Afghanistan would be a mistake.

“Pulling out right now, just the announcement would create chaos in the strategy,” Allen said.

Currently the US has approximately 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, most of which are part of a broader NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist Afghan forces. A possible withdrawal would be complicated because the US is part of NATO’s Resolute Support mission.

Trump has continued to criticize the US presence in Afghanistan and has been vocal about a withdrawal. But senators have echoed Allan’s concerns now and in the past.

Sen. Lindsey Graham on his Twitter said that ISIS-K still remains a threat in Afghanistan and that the US’ Afghan partners still requires assistance.

“Like in Syria, troop withdrawal should be based on conditions on the ground.

The conditions in Afghanistan – at the present moment – make American troop withdrawals a high-risk strategy. If we continue on our present course, we are setting in motion the loss of all our gains and paving the way toward a second 9/11,” he further posted on the matter.”

Furthermore, CNN cited him as saying that “according to our military commanders and everybody I know, we want to withdraw from Afghanistan with honor and do it based on conditions on the ground.”

Earlier, on December 6th, during an interview with the Washington Post, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford said that he “had not recommended” that he US withdraw.

“I had not recommended that we leave Afghanistan because, again, in my judgment, leaving Afghanistan not only would create instability in South Asia, but in my judgment would give terrorist groups the space within which to plan and conduct operations against the American people, our homeland and our allies,” Dunford said. “And that really is the problem we are trying to solve.”

On the same day the rumor broke out of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Department of Defense published a report on “Enhancing security and stability in Afghanistan.”

It covered events between June 1st and November 30th, 2018 and spoke of the ceasefire, progress being made on the South Asia Strategy, the efforts of Afghanistan Reconciliation (SRAR), Ambassador Zalmay Khalilizad. It made no mention of a withdrawal.

“The combination of military escalation and diplomatic initiative have made a favorable political settlement more likely than at any time in recent memory,” the report said.

As mentioned earlier, reinforced by the recent decision, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis announced his resignation with a letter to the US President.

US To Withdraw Half Of Troops From Afghanistan - Reports

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In it Mattis said to Trump that “because you have a right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours” on a number of subjects, “I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”

Mattis further emphasized the importance of US alliances, particularly NATO, and said the US must stand ‘resolute and unambiguous’ in the face of authoritarian countries such as China and Russia.

In response Trump praised Mattis work and announced that his resignation would be finalized in February.

Senator Lindsey Graham also expressed his regret over Mattis’ resignation:

“General Mattis is a combination of intellect and integrity. He has been in the fight against radical Islam for decades and provided sound and ethical military advice to President Trump. He is a role model for the concept of Duty, Honor, Country,” he further said.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, tweeted, blaming Trump for the resignation:

Sen. Ben Sasse also commented on the decision on Twitter, blaming Trump and saying that “General Mattis was giving advice POTUS needs to hear.”

There is yet no official confirmation of whether the US withdrawal from Afghanistan will actually happen, but the one from Syria, as well as Jim Mattis’ resignation are the fact.

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  • Sinbad2

    It seems that all of the American establishment want war.
    Senator Graham has been preaching war since he was first elected in 2003. So it’s safe to say that the majority of the people of South Carolina support war.

    Russia and China should target South Carolina if war breaks out, and not feel guilty about civilian deaths, because the people of South Carolina voted to be targets.

    • You can call me Al

      California + New York + all military bases.

      2 seconds to announce, 2 seconds to push the button – allover in 12 hours. Make it so Sinbad 2.

      • Sinbad2

        Aye aye sir

  • MeMad Max

    17 years of non-stop bullshit….
    I can’t even remember when our country was at peace anymore….

    Its time to end all the bullshit, call it a day, and bring everyone home….

  • AJ

    Its only 10 years too late but better then never.

  • Alan Foo

    Most of the reasons given are really stupid
    and not truthful.

    Something is brewing from this withdrawal and like SF had hinted there may be a major conflict brewing which can be Ukraine .

    These troops may be needed

  • Potato Potato

    15 years ago, the left was anti-war.

    Now BOTH left and right sides of the political spectrum are pro-war. What the frick.

  • Assad must stay (gr8rambino)

    better than nothing but still nice :))

  • Richard

    What is to happen to the half of the troops that are not withdrawn? May they soon be dead, if they aren’t already?