Trump’s Afghanistan troop cuts risks resurgence of global terrorism, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief warns
Nov 19 2020
"The Somali security forces have good morale because of the USA troops ... there's the possibility of air support if they are attacked, they can have medevacs", Sheikh said. "But at the same time, the price for leaving too soon or in an uncoordinated way could be very high".
With terrorist plots that he said had links to Afghanistan, Washington sought a deal with the Taliban that would bring them into a coordinated fight - along with Afghan security forces - against the Islamic State militant group, which lost its self-proclaimed "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq.
The Pentagon has said the USA will slash troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq by mid-January, before President Donald Trump is due to vacate the White House for Joe Biden, even as Republicans and USA allies warned of the dangers of a premature withdrawal. Frank McKenzie, the top USA commander for the Middle East.
Rick Olson, a former U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said that the remaining 2,500 troops still give the United States some leverage in advancing peace efforts, but "it would have been better to have left them at 4,500". Under the planned order, the troop cuts would be completed just five days before Biden takes office January 20. Pentagon officials didn't immediately comment when asked about the drawdowns.
"I think a precipitous drawdown in either Afghanistan or Iraq would be "a mistake", warned Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell".
Miller added the U.S. had met its goals, set in 2001 after the Al Qaeda attacks on the United States, to defeat Islamist extremists and to help "local partners and allies to take the lead in the fight". "I would say 2,500 is probably stable as long as the US-Taliban peace holds". "It would be reminiscent of the humiliating American departure from Saigon in 1975". It's unlikely that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation could even wind down its operation without US help. "Additionally, we continue to be concerned by the growing ISIS activity in Afghanistan and Iran's influence in Iraq". But defense officials said at the time that they had not received such orders. "I count on all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to live up to this commitment, for our own security", Stoltenberg said.
Acting US Defense Secretary Christopher Miller speaks at the Pentagon in Washington
Some of Trump's key Republican allies in Congress voiced concerns this week about sudden troop reductions overseas, though they have generally refrained from an overt public dispute with the president.
In a letter Tuesday, Lynch, who chairs the House Oversight Committee's subpanel on national security, asked acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to share documents concerning Taliban compliance with its peace deal with the US, and the administration's internal communications on the decision, including classified documents like the Esper memo. "This means avoiding a vacuum, which could be exploited", Ali Ahmad Jalali, a former Afghan interior minister and a professor at the National Defense University in Washington DC, told DW.
A USA withdrawal would be welcome in most of rural Afghanistan where civilians are increasingly caught in the crossfire between Taliban and government forces, said Torek Farhadi, a former Afghan government adviser and political analyst. It spends more on defense than all the other countries combined.
"He remained insistent throughout the last decade that bringing American troop numbers down to just a few thousand and really only focusing on targeted strikes of the very worst of the very worst threats to regional and American security was the only thing that the USA should be doing in Afghanistan".
Miller made the announcement in remarks to Pentagon reporters that highlighted the next step in what he called "President Trump's plan to bring the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to a successful and responsible conclusion and to bring our courageous service members home".
It also runs counter to his guidance that troop withdrawals be based on the conditions on the ground, not a date on the calendar.