Pentagon Presses Ahead With Afghanistan Troop Drawdown

Political experts suggest that the move is likely to anger the Congressional leaders from both parties opposed to further soldiers cutdown and renew fears about the incumbent administration’s disdain for the American Congress, even in its last few days in the White House.

The US army has decided to go ahead with the troops' drawdown in Afghanistan, the Defense Department said on Monday.
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The US army has decided to go ahead with the troops’ drawdown in Afghanistan, the Defense Department said on Monday. The move comes despite the barring of such a move without the Pentagon sending Congress an assessment of risks involved.

The statement from the department further added that so far, the authorities have issued no such orders to halt the conditional troop-withdrawal that is expected to reach nearly 2,500. Political experts suggest that the move is likely to anger the Congressional leaders from both parties opposed to further soldiers cutdown, while renewing fears about the incumbent administration’s disdain for the American Congress, even in its last few days in the White House.

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Meanwhile, if the government halted the troop cut down, it could have affected the Afghanistan Peace Agreement signed in February last year. Under the new agreement, the Taliban called on the US for a complete withdrawal of American soldiers in the next few months in return for fulfilling their security commitments.

Months ago, the Pentagon stated that by mid-January, the US would reduce the number of its troops on Afghanistan’s soil from 4,500 to 2,500. But on the other hand, days ago, the US Congress enacted a defense law after overriding Trump’s veto. The new law prohibits the use of designated funds for the 20-21 fiscal year for the US troops’ withdrawal until the Defense Secretary submits a detailed report of impacts and risks.

However, it remains unclear how troops have so far moved out of Afghanistan since the defense bill passed. Reuters quoted a senior defense official and stated that the withdrawal is already close to the 3,000. But the Congress requires a report of risk and impact assessment before the forces drawdown could reach the threshold of 2,000. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has maintained that it is “evaluating” the risks of the legislation on American military strength in the Asian nation.

However, the new law gave the incumbent an emergency power waiver to continue the cutdown; albeit his administration must answer the Congressional leaders why this is critical for American national interest. The outgoing administration is yet to provide anything to Congress. Even though many officials opposed Trump’s idea of troops withdrawal amidst a surge in violence in Afghanistan, Trump moved ahead with his plans.

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