Trump plans Afghanistan withdrawal of another 4,000 troops

Posted Jun 28, 2020 by Ken Hanly
As part of the peace deal the US signed with the Taliban the end of February the US agreed to withdraw troops down to 8,600 by the end of July. But by last week officials announced that withdrawals had already reached that target.
US troops have been in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years
US troops have been in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years
Trump wants only 4,500 US troops left in Afghanistan by autumn
To achieve this goal Trump has finalized plans to withdraw around another 4,000 troops from Afghanistan. This would be the lowest US troop level in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion and occupation. However, the peace agreement with the Taliban signed by the US in February requires the withdrawal of all US and allied troops out of Afghanistan within 14 months.
Further withdrawals depend on Taliban meeting their responsibilities
As part of the peace agreement the Taliban would promise not to itself threaten the security of the US or let any other groups such as Al Qaeda or the Islamic State(ISIS) to use its soil as a base to threaten US security.
Major General Frank McKenzie said that the Taliban had not completely shown that they have met their obligations: "The jury is still very much out on that and so we will watch the Taliban. They have not yet completely made that case. There remains an opportunity for them to do it, but time is now beginning to grow short."
President Trump wants further withdrawals before the November election
In his bid for presidency Trump emphasized withdrawal of US troops from what he described as senseless wars. He no doubt wants to withdraw more troops from Afghanistan to stress his commitment to continue such withdrawals but it would also mean he intends to honor his deal with the Taliban. There would still be 4,500 US troops in Afghanistan and this still is in conformity with the terms of the peace deal. Trump can still claim he is not precipitously withdrawing all troops and not rushing to leave.
Pentagon spokesperson Major Rob Lodewick said: "The levels of United States force in Afghanistan remain at the mid-8,000s. Further reductions beyond this number are based on conditions in accordance with the United States government's assessment of the overall security environment and Taliban compliance with the agreement between the United States and the Taliban." Obviously Trump believes conditions are appropriate for another withdrawal of 4,000 US troops.