Pompeo Backs Away From Talk of Afghan Drawdown Before 2020 Vote

Now claims there is no deadline for troop cuts

Fresh off of reporting that President Trump had called for a substantial drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan before the 2020 election, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo now says that the reporters “got it wrong” and that there is no deadline for troop cuts.

Pompeo had said just the day prior that Trump was “unambiguous” about the drawdown, and that the policy was “end the endless wars, draw down, reduce.” It’s not clear how that could’ve been misinterpreted, though Pompeo now insists that’s not the policy.

Rather, Pompeo merely says that troop cuts are his personal “hope,” that he’d like to see US troops out before the next election, glibly adding to reporters on his flight that he’d also hope to see US troops out of Afghanistan before the plane lands.

Where that leaves actually US policy is unclear. There are ongoing talks with the Taliban which are said to be aiming for a deal that would end nearly two decades of US occupation of Afghanistan, and even though that deal seems quite close, the administration continues to downplay the possibility of actually following through in any real timetable.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.