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Trump to announce withdrawal of additional troops from Afghanistan & Iraq in coming days – report

09 Sep 2020 RT - Russia Today

The report comes amid Trump’s row with Pentagon’s top brass, who he accused of doing the bidding for the US military-industrial complex. In a widely-publicized remark on Monday, Trump said that top people in the Pentagon might not be “in love” with him “because they want to do nothing but fight wars”

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The expected drawdown goes in line with Trump’s previous pledge to reduce the number of troops in both war-torn countries. Last month, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper revealed that the number of US troops stationed in Afghanistan would be slashed to less than 5,000 in the coming months.

Trump himself used to say that he wants to cap the US contingent on the ground in Afghanistan to no more than 4,000 troops.

“We’re going down to 4,000, we’re negotiating right now...I don’t want to tell you (when). But I’ve always said we will get largely out," Trump said last month, noting that he expects between 4,000 and 5,000 troops to be in Afghanistan by the Election Day.

The framework for the gradual pullout was set forth in a deal with Taliban, signed on February 29.

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The US has also been scaling down its presence in Iraq, but, as in the case with Afghanistan, it does not plan to leave the country completely. After Washington and Baghdad fell out over the US killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in January, Washington snubbed the calls to withdraw, insisting that its presence in the country was “appropriate.”

Last month, Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the head of the Pentagon’s Central Command said that the US expects to keep “a long-term presence” in Iraq, purportedly to fight the remnants of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) extremists and to prevent Iran from gaining a foothold in the country. McKenzie said that the contingent of 5,200 US troops that are now in Iraq can be further “adjusted” upon consultations with Baghdad.

While Trump has ramped up his anti-war rhetoric in recent months, with the US presidential elections inching closer, he has yet to deliver on his 2016 campaign promise to pull the plug on “endless wars.”

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