During his presidential campaign, Trump vowed to withdraw the troops from Afghanistan by Christmas.
CNN reported on Thursday that retired army Col. Douglas Macgregor who was an ardent opponent of the US military’s presence in Afghanistan has been made a senior adviser at the Pentagon.
Politico reported that current and former administration officials say Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper Monday in part over his opposition to accelerating troop drawdowns worldwide, and especially in Afghanistan.
Politico also reports that any move to accelerate withdrawals would set up a clash with the nation’s top generals and other civilians, who have argued publicly against leaving Afghanistan too quickly while the security situation remains volatile.
“A precipitous and what appears to be near total withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan — not on a conditions-based approach advocated by our military, political and intelligence leadership but rather on an old campaign promise by President Trump now carried out by hyperpartisan Trump loyalists installed in a last-minute purge of DoD — is both reckless and will not make America safer,” said Marc Polymeropoulos, a retired CIA senior operations officer, quoted by Politico.
This comes as Gen. Scott Miller, the US commander in Afghanistan, has repeatedly said violence in the country is still too high.
Afghan Defense Ministry this week said violence has expanded to almost 26 provinces of the country, especially in the southern regions.
The US and the Taliban signed an agreement in Doha in February based on which the United States agreed on a gradual and conditions-based withdrawal of its troops from the country.
But Trump said in October that all US troops in Afghanistan should be “home by Christmas.”