The Trump administration has reportedly decided to withdraw a “significant” portion of U.S. forces in Afghanistan after Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis announced earlier in the day that he is resigning from his position.
Agence France-Presse tweeted: “Decision made for “significant” US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, US official says.”
“More than 7,000 American troops will begin to return home from Afghanistan in the coming weeks, a U.S. official said,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “The move will come as the first stage of a phased drawdown and the start of a conclusion to the 17-year war that officials say could take at least many months.”
The move comes after Mattis said in his resignation letter that “our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships…Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world.”
“Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position,” Mattis added. The New York Times reports:
Officials said Mr. Mattis went to the White House on Thursday afternoon in a last attempt to convince Mr. Trump to keep American troops in Syria. He was rebuffed, and told the president that he was resigning as a result.
Trump had tweeted earlier in the day on Thursday about pulling U.S. forces out of Syria, writing: “So hard to believe that Lindsey Graham would be against saving soldier lives & billions of $$$. Why are we fighting for our enemy, Syria, by staying & killing ISIS for them, Russia, Iran & other locals? Time to focus on our Country & bring our youth back home where they belong!”
Stephen Miller, Senior Advisor to the President, said on CNN on Thursday night Trump was elected to get U.S. foreign policy back on track, citing “one foreign policy blunder after another in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Lybia.”
“When did the American people sign up to be in every war, in every place, on every side, of every conflict all over planet earth?” Miller asked.
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