US President Donald Trump has reiterated his resolve to “bring our soldiers back home” from Afghanistan, publicly questioning the purpose of the U.S. military presence in the war-torn region of Afghanistan.
Donald Trump reemphasised his objective amid reports that the ongoing U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan “is well ahead of schedule” outlined in a historical pact signed between the US and Taliban to end the nearly 19-year-old war.
“We are acting as a police force, not the fighting force that we are, in Afghanistan,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. After 19 years, it was time for Afghan authorities to police their own country, he wrote.
Under the U.S.-Taliban pact, Washington had promised to diminish its military strength in Afghanistan from about 13,000 to 8,600 by mid-July before withdrawing all soldiers, along with several thousand partners in a NATO-led non-combatant mission by mid-2021.
Donald Trump in his 2016 presidential election campaign had talked about ending America’s “forever wars” and many believe that the move taken in the last year of his presidency is seen as an attempt to fulfil his electoral promises.
The US media has also been quick to interpret Trump’s actions as an effort towards strengthening his election campaign for the upcoming Presidential elections, scheduled for November 2020.
“President Trump reportedly wants to bring all U.S. soldiers home from Afghanistan by Election Day so that he can brag on the campaign trail about fulfilling his promise to ‘end endless wars’,” believes Damon Linker, a consulting editor at the University of Pennsylvania Press.
Earlier in a media briefing when Trump was asked if he had plans to bring troops home from by Thanksgiving, he replied: “I have no target, but as soon as reasonable, over a period of time, but as soon as reasonable.”
The Thanksgiving holiday which falls in late November while the elections are scheduled for early November sum up Trump’s whole act of being ahead of the timeline (to withdraw from Afghanistan).
The CNN reports that “the closely-held discussions were sparked in part by worries that President Donald Trump may want to withdraw troops before voters go to the polls in order to fulfil his 2016 campaign promise to bring troops home, the officials said.”
The US has lost thousands of its able servicemen in the Asian country in the 19 years. The US-Taliban pact is understood as a breath of relief by many who view Trump’s actions as bold. However, Linker says “But if he (Trump) doesn’t do it right, the withdrawal from Afghanistan will blow up in his face, setting back broad-based efforts to change the course of American foreign policy.”
The aftermath of the U.S.-Taliban agreement has witnessed its own ups and downs with spikes in violent activity. However, a bit of positive momentum has been initiated in the recent days as the Taliban announced a three-day ceasefire during the Eid-al-Fitr holiday, to which the Afghan government agreed and released about 2,000 Taliban prisoners.