The Trump administration has started drawing up plans for an abrupt withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan, NBC reported, citing three current and former US defence officials. Talks between the US Government and Taliban failed after the insurgent group claimed responsibility for the Kabul bombings which killed one US soldiers besides all others.
The contingency planning is ongoing, and includes the possibility of President Donald Trump ordering all US soldiers out of Afghanistan within weeks, wrote the NBC in an article,
Officials cautioned, however, that the planning is a precaution and there is currently no directive from the White House to pull American troops out of Afghanistan. But the US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday that counterterrorism operations are critical for peace in Afghanistan and to ensure that the country is no longer a safe haven for terrorists.
“Counterterrorism operations remain critical to our efforts to achieving peace and ensuring terrorist organizations cannot find safe haven in Afghanistan,” said Esper in a joint press briefing with acting Interior Minister Andarabi, Minister of Defense Assadullah Khalid, and Gen. Scott Miller, the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
At the same press conference, General Miller said that over the last year the US reduced the number of American soldiers in Afghanistan by 2,000.
“You are aware as we work in Afghanistan with our partners, we are always looking to optimize the force. As part of our optimization, over the last year, at least 2,000 were reduced,” said Miller.
This comes as the US peace envoy for Afghanistan began a trip to Brussels, Paris, and Moscow to discuss the Afghan peace process. The Afghan government has said that the settlement in Afghanistan will be possible if the Afghan people and the government take ownership of the talks.
“Dispersed efforts which are outside the control of the Afghan government will not lead to the success of the process,” said Najia Anwari, spokesperson for the State Ministry for Peace Affairs.