On Tuesday, a US official said that the Pentagon has begun planning for a full withdrawal from Afghanistan by the Spring of 2021, although the order to begin that withdrawal has not been given.
“I’d like to make it clear that [Secretary of Defense Mark Esper] has not issued orders to reduce military personnel below this 4,000 to 5,000 level in Afghanistan, although we are conducting prudent planning to withdraw to zero service members by May 2021 if conditions warrant, per the US-Taliban agreement,” David Helvey, the acting assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, said during a Congressional hearing.
The US is expected to bring troop levels in Afghanistan down to 4,500 by the November presidential election. The US-Taliban peace deal signed in February paved the way for this drawdown.
The Taliban and the Afghan government are currently engaged in talks in Doha, but the warring parties remain far apart on certain issues, and recent days have seen a significant spike in violence in Afghanistan.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy for the Afghan peace process, also spoke at the Congressional hearing on Tuesday. Khalilzad said the current levels of violence in Afghanistan are unacceptably high, and that he expects further setbacks in the peace talks.
When it comes to troop withdrawal, Khalilzad said they would reevaluate when levels reach 4,500 to see if the Taliban have taken more steps to prevent terrorists from gaining a foothold in Afghanistan.
“We look for more steps before we are satisfied, and I believe that once we reach 4,500, we’d do an evaluation of ties and actions that they have taken and make decisions based on that,” the envoy said.
9 thoughts on “Pentagon Has Begun Preparing For Full Afghanistan Withdrawal”
The American backed Afghan government appears to be the greatest source of terrorism in the country right now and we’re their greatest source of their arms and funding. Do the math. Peace isn’t guaranteed until the last chopper leaves Saigon. Until then the game is on and peace is hypothetical. I hope for the best but I can’t afford to bet on it.
There is too much opium money to be made by Pentagon and CIA in Afghanistan to leave…!
if coma Joe is elected more troops will be added; opium hybrid war helps to destabilize the nations that reject amerikan imperialism
Contractors and ZIA will remain of course
I expected that whoever won the ’16 election would have announced the end of the war before now. Note: “end” in US imperial parlance means a few thousand advisors and contractors training Afghan troops. But still, a drawdown of military activity and personnel.
Pakistan and Turkmenistan finished their part of construction on the TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India) oil pipeline and everyone is waiting for a peace agreement between the Taliban and Afghan govt so remaining construction in Afghanistan can begin. All involved are eager to receive fees when the oil begins to flow.
“The 1814-kilometer pipeline… is expected to supply about 33 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year from Turkmenistan’s giant Galkynysh gas field through the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandahar, as well as the Pakistani cities Quetta and Multan. The pipeline ends at the Indian city of Fazilka”
I believe this is the US’s prime motivation for invading Afghanistan. The pipeline would supply oil to India for USDollars to compete with a proposed Iranian pipeline that would trade in Euros. Plus it would create navigable trade routes through the Khyber Pass which will aid the exploitation of the $Trillion or so of untapped lithium and copper estimated to be in Afghanistan.
I would like to remind the Taliban of the Massacre of Elphinstone’s army in 1842. Justice for the barbarian invaders!
The Afghais-whether Taliban or not, are taking steps to remove the US terrorist state from their country. It is what they have been doing for the past 20 years.
I would believe and not without good reason, I think, that there is a significant faction of the US ruling elites and the military-industrial complex that do not want peace to break out, whatsoever, in any part of the area….. and want to remain in Afghanistan… and Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar etc etc and other parts of the middle east, basically forever.
good for business!
and america’s business is business
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