Decision made for 'significant' troop withdrawal from Afghanistan

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In an interview with Afghanistan's TOLO TV on Thursday - hours before the withdrawal plans were announced - he noted Mr Trump had campaigned for president on a promise to end the Afghan war, which has already cost Americans almost 1 trillion United States dollars.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the United States official said that "roughly half" of the 14,000 USA forces in Afghanistan would leave "within the next several months". The Pentagon had been pushing hard against a drawdown, however, trying to emphasize the large death tolls in Afghanistan as a sign of progress.

Reports of the Afghanistan pullout come on the same day that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced he was resigning from the Trump administration in February.

"A complete withdrawal of US forces would very likely cause the Taliban to make gains in key areas throughout Afghanistan", Roggio said.

The idea of pulling back from Afghanistan drew a sharp rebuke from Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Trump privately has been grousing about USA military involvement in Afghanistan, telling an ally as recently as Wednesday words to the effect of, "What are we doing there?" "Our Afghan partners are incapable of subduing the threat posed by (ISIS/Da'esh) alone", Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.

A withdrawal of so many U.S. troops would represent an abrupt shift in USA strategy announced a year ago, which saw thousands of troops sent to Afghanistan and air strikes intensified to put pressure on the Taliban to talk.

"If we continue on our present course we are setting in motion the loss of all our gains and paving the way towards a second 9/11", warned US Senator Lindsey Graham via Twitter.

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But a former senior State Department official familiar with the issue said that the Taliban representatives rejected a proposal by Khalilzad for a ceasefire and demanded that the talks focus on a US withdrawal. "The message to the Taliban, especially the most hard elements of the Taliban, is just to wait a little bit longer", Reed added.

The US has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, most of which are present as part of a larger NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist Afghan forces. It was unclear which American troops might leave or whether North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has been informed.

"In sum, Trump's instincts to withdraw are correct", Khanna said, "but the tactical implementation matters". Trump tweeted Thursday. Trump on Wednesday declared victory over the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the White House announced that it would begin withdrawing troops from Syria. "Why are we fighting for our enemy, Syria, by staying [and] killing ISIS for them, Russia, Iran & other locals?"

The Wall Street Journal quoted an unnamed senior USA official on December 20 as saying that Trump "wants to see viable options about how to bring conflicts to a close".

"Now the President seems content to forsake their trust and abandon them to a potentially bloody conflict with Turkey", Reed said.

"If they withdraw from Afghanistan it will not have a security impact because in the last four and a half years the Afghans have been in full control", Ghani's spokesman, Haroon Chakhansuri, said via social media.

These and other questions about the Trump decision and its broader implications were on the minds of many in Congress. Sen.

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