Afghanistan December 22, 2018

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Trump’s New Strategy, Thousands of US Troops to Leave Afghanistan

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U.S. President Donald Trump will upend his own strategy to bring peace to Afghanistan and end America’s longest war if he proceeds with plans to withdraw about half of the 14,000 U.S. troops there, according to veteran diplomats and U.S. officials.

Ariana News Agency- U.S. officials told Reuters that Trump has issued verbal orders to plan for a drawdown of close to 7,000 U.S. troops. But, they cautioned, he could always reverse course.

The White House and the Pentagon have not yet commented publicly.

Word of Trump’s decision followed a two-day meeting in Abu Dhabi earlier this week between U.S. special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban representatives at which the sides discussed a withdrawal of international forces and a ceasefire in 2019.

If a U.S. drawdown goes ahead, “We just gave them half of what they wanted in all of this. Their top priority is for the United States to leave Afghanistan,” said Campbell, now an analyst with the RAND Corp think tank.

The reports come a day after the president announced the country’s military withdrawal from Syria.

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Trump’s Defence Secretary Jim Mattis announced his resignation from his post.

Reports about the sharp reduction of forces emerged on Thursday, but have not been confirmed by US defence officials.

Analysts have warned that a withdrawal could have a “devastating” impact and offer Taliban militants a propaganda victory.

A Taliban official told AFP news agency: “Frankly speaking, we weren’t expecting that immediate US response… we are more than happy.”

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