White House: Trump Has Not Yet Ordered Afghanistan Drawdown

Officials say no decision made yet on troop levels

While there have been persistent reports over the past few weeks that President Trump has ordered a drawdown from Afghanistan of either 5,000 or 7,000 US troops, the Pentagon has said they don’t know anything about it. The National Security Council’s spokesman suggests the Pentagon brass was telling the truth.

Officials say that President Trump has made no determination on Afghanistan troop levels going forward, and has made no orders to the Pentagon to start making preparations for any withdrawals.

Media reports on the Afghan War have suggested that President Trump was growing weary of the lack of success since at least summer, and public statements from Afghan commanders defending the war were seen as an attempt to lobby against an expected move out of Afghanistan.

This raises questions about how the reports of such an order made the rounds weeks ago, and why it took so long for the White House to correct the record. The Afghan War is going extremely poorly, and the US is actively negotiating a settlement of the war with the Taliban, which would certainly give everyone reason to believe a drawdown was possible.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.