The Trump administration is expected to announce the withdrawal of around 4,000 troops from Afghanistan, amid reports the US is set to resume peace talks with the Taliban. But there is speculation about whether Washington will stick to this plan.
The US could be following through with plans to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan in the coming months, raising questions about whether Washington can finally get out of the longest war in US history.
This, according to reports that Trump administration officials are expected to announce “the drawdown of about 4,000 troops from Afghanistan as early next week.”
The announcement could coincide with the representatives from the US resuming peace talks with the Taliban after Trump announced an abrupt end back in September.
Despite months of successful talks, Trump claimed at the time that the US was pulling back because of a suicide attack that killed an American soldier and several civilians. Trump then bragged that the US was ramping up airstrikes against the Taliban like they had never seen before. But that increase in bombing took a devastating toll on civilians.
And a United Nations report revealed that during the three-month period between July and September, Afghanistan saw more civilian causalities than it had during any quarter over the last decade.
Although Trump said he is hopeful for peace talks with the Taliban during a surprise Thanksgiving visit to a US air base in Afghanistan, reports have claimed that Trump told his advisors he wanted all US troops removed from the country before election day in November 2020.
While the US refuses to confirm how many troops it has stationed in Afghanistan, the number was believed to be around 14,000 at the beginning of this year, with a reduction of around 2,000 as tours have ended and the troops have not been replaced. Even if the US withdraws 4,000 troops in the coming months, that will still leave an estimated 8,000 soldiers in the country.
Last week’s publication of government documents from more than 400 interviews with top military generals and advisers has also cast the Afghanistan War in a new light, confirming that while top US politicians cheered Washington’s efforts, they knew the 18-year war was impossible to win from the start.
They found that “Instead of bringing stability and peace,” the United States “built a corrupt, dysfunctional Afghan government that remains dependent on U.S. military power for its survival.
Much of the corruption was tied to the fact that the US has poured nearly $2 trillion dollars into the country with no oversight or accountability. And with little changing in the budget for 2020, many are wondering if Trump will actually end the endless war that has become the longest in US history.