Pentagon Draws Up Plans to Withdraw From Afghanistan

SecDef: Afghan mission has not changed

NBC News is quoting Pentagon officials as saying that they are engaged in “prudent planning” for an abrupt withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, if President Trump made a sudden decision to do so.

The officials are complaining about the quick moves in Syria, and say they are viewing it as a “dress rehearsal” for what could be a similar US pullout from Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Mark Esper insists no policy changes have been made in Afghanistan.

Though Pentagon officials often style themselves as constantly making plans to get out in front of decisions, this is never something practically seen when a quick policy decision is made, as the Pentagon brass seem to constantly drag their feet on any changes they don’t like.

This latest report likely amounts to grousing about the Syria pullout, or what is shaping up to be a very incomplete Syria pullout. With so many politicians criticizing the move, or any move that’s not escalatory, the Pentagon likely believes it will have sympathetic listeners.

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.