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U.S. to reduce troop levels in Iraq, Afghanistan just days before Biden takes office

US Troops Afghanistan
Getty Images via CNN
U.S. troops on duty in Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON, DC — Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller on Tuesday announced plans to reduce U.S. troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying the decision fulfills President Donald Trump’s pledge to bring forces home even as Republicans and U.S. allies warn against a rash withdrawal.

The new plan will accelerate troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan in Trump’s final days in office, despite arguments from senior military officials in favor of a slower, more methodical pullout. Trump has refused to concede his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, who takes office Jan. 20, just five days after the troop withdrawals are slated to finish.

Miller, who refused to take questions from reporters, said the plan will cut the number of troops in Afghanistan from more than 4,500 to 2,500, and in Iraq from about 3,000 to 2,500. Miller added that the U.S. remains ready to respond if conditions deteriorate.

“If the forces of terror, instability, division and hate begin a deliberate campaign to disrupt our efforts, we stand ready to apply the capabilities required to thwart them,” he said in a roughly eight-minute statement to reporters in the Pentagon briefing room.

The withdrawal plan falls short of Trump’s oft-repeated vow to end America’s long wars. It also runs counter to his guidance that troop withdrawals be based on the conditions on the ground, not a date on the calendar.

In Afghanistan, in particular, military and defense leaders have consistently said the Taliban has not yet met requirements to reduce violent attacks against Afghan government forces. U.S. forces have remained in Afghanistan since they invaded in October 2001.

The decision has already received a cool reception from some Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, and a somewhat uncharacteristically blunt critique from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien said the president is keeping his promise to the American people to get U.S. troops out of war zones. “By May, it is President Trump’s hope that they will all come home safely and in their entirety,” O’Brien told reporters at the White House shortly after Miller made the announcement at the Pentagon.

“I want to reiterate that this policy is not new,” O’Brien said. “This has been the president’s policy since he took office.”

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Associated Press

Comments

6 Comments

  1. If lying biden wins unfairly, he will have a quagmire to fix if he builds up troops at a non issue war that obama kept going after the mission was accomplished. I just don’t think lying biden is up to the job. Neither is camel la la harry.

    1. Bidumb and Da’Ho aren’t going to do a damn thing.

      They’ll be defeated in their attempt to steal office and be sent back to the nursing home and ho-house they slithered out of.

  2. These are decisions best left to the command on the ground. No one in the current orange buffoon is qualified to make these kinds of decisions. This has been true since Mattis left in disgust.

  3. Bidumb isn’t taking any office, anywhere. His Democrats allies GOT CAUGHT stuffing the ballot box.

    Improbable to IMPOSSIBLE vote counts, OBVIOUS FRAUD. SCOTUS here we come!

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