As Negotiations Advance, Pentagon Denies Plans for Withdrawing From Afghanistan

Spokesman says no plan for pullout or drawdown

Negotiations with the Taliban continue to advance, with special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad confirming that there is a framework agreement for withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan. The deal is not finalized, of course.

To hear the Pentagon tell it, there’s no plan to withdraw in any way, a common narrative for them since they have generally opposed all plans to withdraw from anywhere abroad recently. Col. David Butler, a US forces spokesman, says there is no plan in place for either a pullout or even a drawdown.

There have been reports that a drawdown of about half the US forces in Afghanistan might happen alongside of a ceasefire with the Taliban, and the full withdrawal would happen after a final peace settlement. This, however, rests on having a final deal, which would still require working out details. Khalilzad has expressed hope for a deal like that by July.

Conflicting narratives have become increasingly common on US troop deployments. Only last week, Pentagon officials were confirming that they intend to have all troops out of Syria by the end of April, while the State Department claimed no final decision had been made.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.