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Donald Trump set to order more troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan in waning days of administration taking numbers in each one-time warzone to just 2,500

 Donald Trump is using some of his final few weeks as president to withdraw more troops from the Middle East as part of his campaign promise to end foreign wars and bring military members home.

This most recent cut will lower the number of U.S. troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan to 2,500 in each country – but signals to U.S. officials and Trump allies that the president is settling for a partial reduction before leaving office rather than fully withdrawing.

Trump's initial goal was to have all troops home by the end of the year, which was greeted with opposition from military and diplomatic advisers.

There are between 4,500-5,000 troops in Afghanistan now, and more than 3,000 in Iraq.

A U.S. official said the military was expecting formal orders in the coming days to reduce the numbers of troops in Afghanistan by nearly half of its current 4,500. A NATO official also said they expect a 1,500 to 2,000 troop decline.

The decline in Iraq would bring about 500 troops back to the U.S. 

President Donald Trump is planning an Executive Order that would bring home more troops from Iraq and Afghanistan – but would stop short of his promise to bring home all troops from those two countries by the end of the year

President Donald Trump is planning an Executive Order that would bring home more troops from Iraq and Afghanistan – but would stop short of his promise to bring home all troops from those two countries by the end of the year 

Trump plans to bring back to the U.S. around 2,000 troops from Afghanistan, lowering their total from 4,500 to around 2,500

Trump plans to bring back to the U.S. around 2,000 troops from Afghanistan, lowering their total from 4,500 to around 2,500

His order will also bring back 500 troops from Iraq, leaving 2,500 there, as well

His order will also bring back 500 troops from Iraq, leaving 2,500 there, as well

The move comes as no surprise after Trump fired his Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, as part of a Pentagon leadership shakeup last week after the president became concerned that his and others' priorities did not line up.

Instead he appointed loyalists who share in his frustration with continued troop presence in warzones to top Pentagon positions.

The cuts give Trump an accomplishment in his final weeks in office as he continues to refuse to concede the presidential election to Joe Biden.

An anonymous official told the Associated Press that military leaders were told over the weekend about the planned withdrawals and an executive order is in the works but has not yet been delivered to commanders.

Under the current plans in the drafted order, troop cuts would be completed just five days before Biden takes office, leaving him with a smaller military footprint in the two key warzones.

Trump's new Pentagon chief, Christopher Miller, hinted at the troop withdrawals over the weekend in a carefully worded message to the force that suggested compromise.

'We remain committed to finishing the war that Al Qaeda brought to our shores in 2001,' Miller said, but warned: 'we must avoid our past strategic error of failing to see the fight through to the finish.'

Miller also made it clear that 'all wars must end.'

Mitch McConnell slams pulling troops out of Afghanistan
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The orders come after Trump issued a shakeup at the Pentagon, including firing his Defense Secretary Mark Esper

The orders come after Trump issued a shakeup at the Pentagon, including firing his Defense Secretary Mark Esper

Acting Pentagon Chief Christopher Miller, Trump feels, shares in his priorities to get troops home from the Middle East

Acting Pentagon Chief Christopher Miller, Trump feels, shares in his priorities to get troops home from the Middle East

'This fight has been long, our sacrifices have been enormous. and many are weary of war - I'm one of them,' he said. 'Ending wars requires compromise and partnership. We met the challenge; we gave it our all. Now, it's time to come home.'

The accelerated withdrawal, however, goes against the longstanding advice from Trump's military leadership, including Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, top U.S. commander for the Middle East. 

Officials, however, suggested this week that commanders will be able to live with the partial pullout, which allows them to keep counterterrorism troops in Afghanistan and gives more time to remove critical equipment.

McKenzie and others have repeatedly argued that a hasty withdrawal could undercut negotiations to finalize ongoing peace negotiations between the Taliban and representatives of Afghan society, including the current Afghan government. And they also warn that U.S. forces should remain in the country to keep Islamic State militants in check.

1 comment:

  1. This isn't his waning days ... Trump will be sworn in as President on the 20 of Jan. Biden will be president of his jail cell.

    ReplyDelete