Trump Set to Announce He’s Withdrawing 4,000 Troops From Afghanistan Amid Troubled Peace Talks With Taliban

 In Afghanistan, GDI, Land, Defense
  • President Donald Trump is poised to announce he’s pulling rough­ly 4,000 US troops out of Afghanistan, pos­si­bly within the next week, NBC News report­ed.
  • This would be an ini­tial step in Trump’s broad­er goal of pulling all US troops out of Afghanistan by the elec­tion next year in November 2020.
  • There are cur­rent­ly some­where between 12,000 to 13,000 US troops in Afghanistan.
  • Trump in 2016 cam­paigned on pulling the US out of wars like Afghanistan, but has been unable to make good on that promise since enter­ing the White House. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s home page for more sto­ries. 

President Donald Trump is set to announce the with­draw­al of rough­ly 4,000 US troops from Afghanistan as early as next week, NBC News report­ed on Saturday based on con­ver­sa­tions with three cur­rent and former offi­cials. 

This would come as the US is engaged in ongo­ing, trou­bled peace talks with the Taliban. The talks resumed in early December after Trump abrupt­ly scrapped nego­ti­a­tions with the Taliban in September, only to be paused again this week after an attack near Bagram Airfield on Wednesday.

There are cur­rent­ly some­where between 12,000 to 13,000 US troops in Afghanistan, and with­draw­ing 4,000 troops would bring total num­bers down to some­where between 8,000 and 9,000. But there’s not a clear time­line on when such a with­draw­al might begin, nor spe­cif­ic details on how it would be con­duct­ed.

The White House and Pentagon did not imme­di­ate­ly respond to a request for com­ment from Insider.  

Afghanistan

US mil­i­tary advis­ers from the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade sit at an Afghan National Army base in Maidan Wardak province, Afghanistan, on August 6, 2018. James Mackenzie/Reuters

Trump in 2016 cam­paigned on pulling the US out of wars like Afghanistan, but has been unable to make good on that promise since enter­ing the White House. 

The pres­i­dent report­ed­ly wants to with­draw all US troops by November 2020, and pulling 4,000 out in the near future would be a sig­nif­i­cant step in that direc­tion. At the same time, the pres­i­dent could face crit­i­cism and push­back for with­draw­ing troops with­out a solid peace deal in place with the Taliban. The pres­ence of US troops in Afghanistan is con­sid­ered impor­tant lever­age in these dis­cus­sions.  

A land­mark report from The Washington Post released ear­li­er this month based on a trove of con­fi­den­tial gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments, revealed that the US offi­cials have been lying to the public for years about the war in Afghanistan.

The report — dubbed “the Afghanistan Papers” — laid out how offi­cials across the Bush, Obama, and Trump admin­is­tra­tions have misled the US public about the state of the longest war in US his­to­ry, claim­ing progress was being made when it wasn’t.

In short, top US offi­cials con­sis­tent­ly lied to Americans to hide the unwinnable nature of the con­flict.

The US is esti­mat­ed to have spent rough­ly $1 tril­lion on the war in Afghanistan, which began in October 2001 fol­low­ing the 911 terror attacks. Over the course of the 18 years of con­flict, 2,351 American troops have died as well as 3,814 US con­trac­tors, accord­ing to the Post. Over 775,000 US troops have been deployed to Afghanistan since the ini­tial inva­sion, in some cases more than once.  

Source: Business Insider (Military & Defense)

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