US Interim Defense Chief: No Afghan Pullout Without NATO Coordination

Promises US won't unilaterally withdraw from Afghanistan

Speaking to reporters at a NATO meeting in Brussels, US acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan promised that the United States will not have any “unilateral troop reduction” or withdrawal from Afghanistan.

These comments come amid ongoing US negotiations with the Taliban on ending the Afghan War, negotiations which the Taliban have made clear depend entirely on US troops withdrawing from Afghanistan.

Shanahan insisted that any withdrawal would be “coordinated” with NATO, which might just suggest that since the Taliban wants all foreign troops out, the deal would also include NATO forces.

Shanahan’s vagueness on that point might be deliberate, as a way to deflect criticism from hawks who oppose the very idea of leaving Afghanistan under any circumstances.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for 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.