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article imageTrump to bring all US troops in Afghanistan home by year's end

By Ken Hanly     Oct 11, 2020 in Politics
US President Trump repeated on Thursday a surprise declaration he had made via Twitter on Wednesday night. In his Wednesday tweet Trump said that all US troops in Afghanistan would be back home by the end of 2020.
Trump repeats his troop withdrawal promise
Talking to Fox Business on Thursday Trump repeated his end of the year withdrawal deadline: “We’re down to 4,000 troops in Afghanistan. I’ll have them home by the end of the year. They’re coming home, you know, as we speak. Nineteen years is enough. They’re acting as policemen, OK? They’re not acting as troops."
Trump statement differs from that of the National Security Advisor
Trump's Wednesday tweet came just a few hours after Robert O'Brien US National Security Advisor had said claimed that there would be about 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan by early next year. The complete withdrawal of US troops is scheduled to be complete by the beginning of May 2021 according to the terms of a peace deal between the US and the Taliban signed the end of this February.
Talks between Taliban and Afghan government ongoing in Doha, Qatar
The Afghan government was not involved in the February agreement between the US and the Taliban. There have been problems with the Afghan government carrying out some of the terms of the February agreement hence the need for talks between the Afghan government and Taliban to complete the peace deal. It has taken some time for the talks with the Afghan government to take place. The Taliban have regarded the Afghan government as solely a puppet of the US.
US withdrawals are ahead of schedule
As a May article pointed out
, the US was ahead of an agreed upon schedule to withdraw troops: "According to a deal the US signed with the Taliban in February, the Pentagon was to bring troop levels down from about 12,000 to 8,600 by the middle of July, before withdrawing all forces by May next year. However, a senior US defense official said that the troop number was already at approximately 8,500, as commanders accelerate the withdrawal over fears of the COVID-19 pandemic. "
Anonymous US officials criticize Trump's plan
While the Taliban welcomed Trump's plan and called it a positive step in the agreement between the US and the group, anonymous US officials voiced disapproval of the plan claiming that it would hurt the Afghan government by giving it less leverage over the Taliban in the ongoing talks. However, another unnamed Trump administration official told AP news that the announcement laid down a marker for US withdrawals and since Trump was the commander in chief the rest of the Trump administration would follow his lead. No doubt hawks within his administration will be unhappy.
More about US in Afghanistan, US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Afghan war
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