Trump expected to order troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Published: Nov 17, 2020, 02:18 PM(IST)

Donald Trump Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The Pentagon has issued a notice to commanders known as a "warning order" to begin planning to drawdown the number of troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 troops and 2,500 in Iraq by January 15, officials told CNN. 

It is being anticipated that US President Donald Trump would -- as soon as this week -- begin a further withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. US military commanders are expecting that a formal order will be soon given by him.

The Pentagon has issued a notice to commanders known as a "warning order" to begin planning to drawdown the number of troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 troops and 2,500 in Iraq by January 15, officials told CNN. 

Currently there are approximately 4,500 US troops in Afghanistan and 3,000 troops in Iraq.

On October 7, Trump tweeted: "We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!"

Then-Secretary of Defence Mark Esper sent a classified memo earlier this month to the White House asserting that it was the unanimous recommendation of the chain of command that the US not draw down its troop presence in Afghanistan any further until conditions were met.

According to CNN, the memo is believed to have been one of the main reasons why Trump fired Esper last week.

The decision to pull additional troops out of Iraq comes as the Trump administration has moved to reduce the US military's footprint there in recent months.

The US commander in the Middle East announced a drawdown of troops in Iraq from 5,200 to 3,000 in September.

In March, US forces began pulling back from bases across Iraq, turning them over to Iraqi security partners. Pentagon had then mentioned long-planned consolidation as the reason.

The Trump administration has already substantially reduced US troops in Afghanistan by more than 50%, recently bringing the number of military personnel there down to about 4,500, the lowest levels since the earliest days of the post 9/11 campaign.

Trump fired Defence Secretary Mark Esper last week, replacing him with Christopher Miller, the director of the National Counterterrorism Centre.

In one of his first moves as acting Defence Secretary, Miller sent a seemingly contradictory message to the force on Friday, saying the US must continue its battle against al Qaeda and the terrorist forces behind 9/11 while also saying it was time to bring troops home.

Read in App