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article imageOp-Ed: Withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan continuing

By Ken Hanly     May 16, 2020 in Politics
US troops are continuing their withdrawal from Afghanistan. Even though there is no specific number provided by the Pentagon they do claim that they are taking place at a pace that is expected to meet the terms of the Taliban US peace deal.
The February peace deal
The US Taliban deal
was signed at the end of February. The deal commits the US to withdraw all military forces and supporting personnel as well as those of its allies within 14 months. The withdrawal will be in stages with the US first stage reducing its troop levels in Afghanistan to 8,600 and withdrawing forces from five bases within 135 days. The remainder of the allied forces are to be withdrawn within the remaining nine and a half months. The withdrawal could cease if the Taliban do not keep their obligations under the agreement.
The agreement also involved a prisoners swap of 5,000 imprisoned Taliban for 1,000 imprisoned by the Taliban. The Afghan government was not part of the agreement and is resisting carrying out the swap causing the Taliban to resume attacks on the government. It remains to be seen if talks between the government and Afghan government can reach a negotiated solution. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the election of Ashraf Ghani as president is contested by Abdullah Abdullah who also claims the presidency. An attempt by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to mediate between the two was no successful.
Jonathan Hoffman a Pentagon spokesperson, said the withdrawal was proceeding as per the February agreement: “That is still going forward. We expect to meet that within the timeline laid out under the agreement with the Taliban."
Afghan government complains that the Taliban are breaking the deal
The Afghan government
insists that the Taliban are breaking the deal by continuing attacks. However, the attacks are continuing because the Afghan government has refused to execute the terms of the prisoner swap. The US appears not to be taking the Afghan government complaints that seriously and are continuing their withdrawal. Trump may be concerned about the troops being involved in the spread of the COVID-19 virus and may desire to remove the troops before it gets a good foothold in Afghanistan. Trump has also often expressed a desire to remove US troops from wars that he has described as useless.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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