The remaining American troops deployed to Afghanistan “should” be “home by Christmas,” declared US President Donald Trump on Wednesday – the 19th anniversary of the US invasion of the Central Asian country.
Trump took to social media Wednesday evening to announce that despite recent news, the American people should expect a December 25 return of the “small remaining number” of US troops deployed to Afghanistan.
Earlier Wednesday, White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien claimed that there would only be a substantial decrease in deployed troops by early 2021.
“When President Trump took office, there were over 10,000 American troops in Afghanistan. As of today there are under 5,000, and that will go to 2,500 by early next year,” he told attendees of an event at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Reuters reported.
Prior to October 7, David Helvey, the official performing the duties of assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, had expressed that the service would be “conducting prudent planning to withdraw to zero service members by May 2021.”
O’Brien highlighted “Americans need to come home,” while stressing that “Afghans themselves are going to have to work out an accord, a peace agreement,” with the Taliban.
Reuters noted that dozens of Afghan civilians have been killed in recent weeks. At the same time, peace talks in the Qatari capital of Doha have stalled.
Political-military analyst Brian Downing told Radio Sputnik’s Political Misfits on Wednesday that “all sides” involved in current Afghan affairs “are pretty tired of war.”
“I think it’s dragging on for two reasons: first, Donald Trump has signaled, rather carelessly, an eagerness to get out, and that’s not exactly a good position to have going into negotiations,” he told hosts Bob Schlehuber and Michelle Witte.
“Second, I think there are people in the Taliban who feel that they can reconquer most of the country and that a peace agreement would simply be a concession – too big a concession – to the other powers inside Afghanistan.”