Tags: Afghanistan | Syria | Trump Administration | pentagon | afghanistan | trump | military

NBC News: Pentagon Preparing for Sudden Afghanistan Decision

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Aerial view of the Pentagon building (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

By    |   Monday, 21 October 2019 06:02 PM

The Pentagon is involved in "prudent planning" for a sudden withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan as a precaution in the event President Donald Trump makes an abrupt decision for an immediate drawdown like the one he ordered in Syria, according to current and former defense officials. 

They cautioned that the planning is only a precaution, as there is no directive from the administration to pull out troops, but one of the officials told NBC News that Trump's actions in Syria are a "dress rehearsal" for what could end up happening in Afghanistan. 

Trump's advisers have been able to talk him out of such sudden moves in the past, but he's focused on the 2020 election, and has been reminding reporters that he "got elected on bringing our soldiers back home."

Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell said the Pentagon does not have orders to draw down troops from Afghanistan, and its mission has not changed.

"U.S. force levels in Afghanistan remain conditions-based and will continue to reflect the level required to execute our mission," he said. That will include "ensuring Afghanistan is never again used as a safe haven for terrorists who threaten the United States, our allies or our interests."

Defense Secretary Mark Esper, meanwhile, said Monday during a surprise trip to Afghanistan that the missions in Afghanistan and Syria are "very different situations" with different adversaries and levels of commitment. 

 "All these things should reassure Afghan allies and others they should not misinterpret our actions in the region in the recent week or so in regard to Syria and contrast that with Afghanistan," said Esper. 

Gen. Scott Miller, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, said Monday that over the past year, he's brought 2,000 troops out while streaming operations. 

The reduction of forces in Afghanistan has hinged on peace talks with the Taliban, but those negotiations collapsed in September. Meanwhile, military officials said they expect Trump to order withdrawals of several thousand troops by year's end and leaving about 9,000 troops in Afghanistan. 

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The Pentagon is involved in "prudent planning" for a sudden withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan as a precaution in the event President Donald Trump makes an abrupt decision for an immediate drawdown like the one he ordered in Syria, according to current and former...
pentagon, afghanistan, trump, military
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2019-02-21
Monday, 21 October 2019 06:02 PM
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