Trump to Order More Troops Home From Iraq, Afghanistan
President Donald Trump is reportedly going to instruct the Pentagon to reduce the number of U.S. troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the order would:
…call for the U.S. military to draw down the number of troops in both countries to roughly 2,500 each by Jan. 15, five days before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. The Pentagon’s Joint Staff is expected to deliver the order in the coming days to U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for U.S. military operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Military planners there will draft the specifics of those plans.
There are currently about 5,000 troops in Afghanistan and more than 3,000 in Iraq. There are no current plans to draw down the force of about 1,000 troops from Syria, officials said.
The move comes close to fulfilling a long-term presidential promise to get the U.S. out of endless wars in the region.
Word of the order drew immediate criticism from congressional Republicans:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) compared the move to “the humiliating American departure from Saigon in 1975,” warning it would embolden the Taliban, hand al Qaeda a propaganda victory, and risk the rights of Afghan women and girls.
Not all members of Congress were so dismissive of the president’s actions. Retiring Libertarian Rep. Justin Amash said critics should “[s]top calling bringing home troops from a 19-year-long war a “premature U.S. withdrawal.”