Keeping one more campaign promise, President Trump on Tuesday began to extricate U.S. forces from their almost twenty-year mission in Afghanistan. American forces were sent there to topple the Taliban government after the Taliban harbored al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for the 9-11 attacks against the U.S.
While the U.S. quickly won the conventional war, an insurgency has gone on since late 2001. A peace agreement was recently signed between the U.S. and the Taliban.
Fox News reports, “Col. Sonny Leggett, the U.S. military’s spokesman in the Middle Eastern country, said in a statement that the military had begun its ‘conditions-based reduction of forces to 8,600 over 135 days.’
“Currently, the U.S. has about 13,000 soldiers in Afghanistan — 8,000 of whom are involved in training and advising the country’s National Security Forces, while about 5,000 others are involved in anti-terror operations.”
American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cautioned the Afghans Monday against “any use of force to resolve political differences” between national political rivals Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah. (No, that is not a typo.)
“Prioritizing an inclusive government and unified Afghanistan is paramount for the future of the country and particularly for the cause of peace,” said Pompeo.
The U.S. is in a tricky position in the region. It can’t allow a power vacuum that could be taken advantage of by the Iranians. But Trump’s own pledges promise, and the Afghans expect, the U.S. will get out. However, the process will be a gradual one, retaining enough forces in the country to guard against political instability and a power grab from one of the many area warlords. Some of those warlords have ties to terrorists and the Iranians.
One thing nobody but the Democrats want is a pell-mell retreat from the country that exposes U.S. troops, allied civilians, and allied forces to aggressive hit and run tactics by those who would fight to take over in the wake of an American bug out.
The Democrats want that retreat to give Trump a black eye in the fall election. The fate of U.S. forces or the people of Afghanistan? Very low on their priority list.