Is Donald Trump really on the verge of fulfilling one of his most popular campaign promises? According to a recent report, it appears the president is finally going to begin the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. He hasn’t made the long-anticipated announcement yet, but if the sources are accurate, it seems he will address the nation shortly.
Withdrawing from Afghanistan
A White House source recently informed CNN that the president “is preparing to announce a long-anticipated drawdown of about 4,000 troops from Afghanistan.” While this would still leave a significant number of soldiers in the region, it could be the beginning of a complete pullout from the country and the end of a 20-year long war – the single most protracted military conflict in America’s history.
Dawa Khan Meenapal, a spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, said the military withdrawal was not tied to peace talks with the Taliban, but did emphasize that the arrangement “had already been agreed upon in principle between the governments of Afghanistan and the United States.”
During the 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly vowed to get the U.S. out of Afghanistan and other “neverending wars.” Since becoming president, he has attempted to bring about this change in U.S. foreign policy but flip-flopped on the matter when warned of what could happen if the nation removes its troops. Indeed, it seems that any time the president gets closer to ending America’s presence in places like Syria and elsewhere, an outpouring of protestations occurs in response.
On Thanksgiving this year, Trump indicated that he was not in a rush to remove soldiers from Afghanistan. He said: “We’re going to stay until such time as we have a deal [with the Taliban], or we have total victory.”
Motivated by Recent Revelations
Trump’s announcement could be prompted by recent revelations that officials working under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama routinely misled the American public about progress in Afghanistan and failed to inform the nation of the issues U.S. troops were experiencing. It was a devastating PR disaster for those who still support the war in Afghanistan.
Trump critics – and even some supporters – are already stressing that an abrupt withdrawal could actually lead to more issues in the region. Afghan parliamentarian, Nadir Khan Katawazai, stressed that “[T]he conditions for withdrawal should be achieved so that Afghan security and defense forces are able to fill the vacuum, otherwise it can have a negative impact on the [battlefield] situation.”
It appears that the U.S. would still maintain a small presence in the region even after a full withdrawal. This is designed to ensure that the military could still keep an eye on terrorist activity and act accordingly if something flares up. If the president finally manages to bypass the hawkish crowd in his administration, the nation could finally see an end to what many believe to be an unnecessary foreign entanglement.
Read more from Jeff Charles.