The Kabul Times.
Politics

US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan; unannounced change in Trump’s strategy

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It is reported that US President Donald Trump planning to withdraw thousands of US troops from Afghanistan. According to reports, discussions in connection with timeline of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan have been carried out but not finalized so far.
Report of possible withdrawal of thousands of US troops from Afghanistan has been followed by various reactions and came after meetings between US special envoy to Afghanistan on reconciliation and peace and representatives of the Taliban group in UAE.
US special peace envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad has accepted that timeline for US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan was discussed in his meetings with representatives of the Taliban group in UAE.
NATO, RS mission in Afghanistan while not particularly commenting in connection with possible withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, but stressing on the organization’s continued support from Afghanistan.
“Afghan defense and security forces have been fully in charge of the security of Afghanistan for over four years,” said NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu, assuring NATO’s continued support from the country’s defense and security forces in war on terror in Afghanistan.
According to the NATO spokesperson, the partnership between Afghanistan and NATO is key to ensure Afghanistan will never change as safe haven for international terrorists. A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the military has begun planning the details of a drawdown, which could include reviewing what bases the United States would keep and what type of troops would be removed.The official acknowledged it would be difficult to maintain the same military missions with half the troops. US officials told Reuters that Trump has issued verbal orders to plan for a drawdown of close to 7000 US 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 US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban representatives at which the sides discussed a withdrawal of international forces and a ceasefire in 2019. Trump unveiled a South Asia strategy in August 2017 calling for an open-ended deployment of US forces with the goal of compelling the Taliban to negotiate peace with the Kabul government.Late last year, Trump reluctantly agreed to deploying thousands of additional US troops. The United States has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of a NATO-led mission, known as Resolute Support, and a US counter-terrorism mission largely directed against groups such as Islamic State and al-Qaeda.Some 8000 troops from 38 other countries are participating in Resolute Support.
Thursday’s news of the planned drawdown followed Trump’s order on Wednesday to withdraw all 2000 US troops from Syria. Trump said Islamic State had been defeated and there was no longer a need for US forces in Syria.
Lailuma Noori

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