Will US Troops Leave Afghanistan?
Afghan authorities seek to allay fears of imminent withdrawal of foreign troops
The Afghan authorities are trying not to emphasize the significance of reports of possible plans for the withdrawal of American troops from the country, stating that local forces independently conduct almost all security operations throughout the country and rely only on small air support from foreign partners..
According to US media reports, President Donald Trump intends to reduce the contingent in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 troops. It was not possible to obtain confirmation of these messages, and there has not yet been an official announcement on the reduction of the contingent..
Afghan Defense Minister Asadullah Khalid, speaking in parliament on Tuesday, tried to allay fears that a sudden withdrawal of foreign troops from the country would undermine his government’s ability to fight Taliban militants.
Khalid noted that Afghan security forces currently conduct 96 percent of operations against the Taliban on their own and receive only 4 percent of air support from foreign partners. However, the defense minister said he did not expect the complete withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan..
Meanwhile, peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban have stalled and violence in the country has increased..
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Warns Trump Against Too Abrupt Withdrawal From Afghanistan.
«A quick withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan will hurt our allies and will delight those who wish us harm. The level of violence is still very high. Taliban do not respect the terms of the so-called peace agreement», – McConnell said in a statement.
Under an agreement that the Trump administration and the Taliban signed in February, all US and NATO troops are to leave Afghanistan by May 2021. In return, the Taliban pledged to fight terrorism on Afghan soil and negotiate a permanent ceasefire and political reconciliation.
«In this case, we will abandon our partners in Afghanistan, brave Afghans who are fighting terrorists, and deprive the government of leverage in negotiations with the Taliban., – warned McConnell. – The withdrawal of our troops will give courage to the Taliban, especially the radical wing «Haqqani», and can put Afghan women and girls back into the conditions they lived in in the 1990s», – said the senator.
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, meanwhile, said on Tuesday that President-elect Joe Biden could revise plans announced by the Trump administration to significantly reduce the American contingent in Germany..
«During the election campaign, we heard from the Democrats that they intend to once again scrutinize these plans., – said Kramp-Karrenbauer. – Anyway, there is a chance that plans will change. Let’s see if this will mean a complete cancellation of plans or only a partial change.».