Trump Ready to Cut Number of Troops in Afghanistan Ahead of 2020 Election; End Nearly 18-Year-Old War: Pompeo

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that President Trump wants to cut the number of troops in Afghanistan ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
  • In 2017, Trump unveiled his South Asia strategy, which “called for an open-ended deployment of U.S. forces with the goal of compelling the Taliban to negotiate peace with the Kabul government to end nearly 18 years of war.”
  • Pompeo said it’s his “directive from the president of the United States,” when asked at The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. “whether he expects the U.S. to reduce troops in Afghanistan before the next election in November 2020.”
  • Pompeo said of Trump: “He’s been unambiguous: end the endless wars, draw down, reduce. It won’t just be us. We hope that overall the need for combat forces in the region is reduced.”
  • Pompeo also hinted “that a troop withdrawal is connected to how the president views his job performance.” Pompeo said reducing forces is “not only my expectation, it would be job-enhancing.”
  • Per reports, “the disclosure of a timeline will add to speculation that Trump is prepared to strike any deal with the Taliban insurgency that will allow for at least partial U.S. withdrawal before American voters go to the polls, irrespective of concerns by the U.S.-backed government in Kabul.”
  • The U.S. is also preparing to participate in more talks with insurgents, so some experts believe that by Trump’s goals being disclosed, it weakens America’s negotiating position, “if the Taliban believes Trump wants to withdraw, irrespective of the outlines of the deal.”
  • The State Department said that during a phone call on Friday, Pompeo and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani agreed to “accelerate efforts to end the war,” and the U.S. is “committed to a conditions-based drawdown of troops.”
  • Pompeo expressed optimism about negotiating with the Taliban to end the nearly 18-year-old war.
  • Pompeo said: “We want them to take their country back, and we want to reduce what is, for us, tens of billions of dollars a year in expenditures.”

Reference Links

  • Reuters: Trump wants forces reduced in Afghanistan by next U.S. election: Pompeo READ
  • The Nation: Could Donald Trump Actually End the Afghan War? READ
  • Washington Examiner: Trump wants to cut Afghanistan troop levels before 2020 election READ
  • Stars and Stripes: Pompeo: Trump directed aides to reduce US troops in Afghanistan by 2020 election READ

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