US President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the last American soldier from Afghanistan by Christmas, that is, months before the date specified in the agreement signed between Washington and the Taliban to end the longest war in the history of the United States.
“We have to bring home the small remaining number of our brave men and women who are still serving in Afghanistan by Christmas,” Trump wrote in a tweet.
For years, the Republican president, who has sought to win a second term in the November 3 elections, has promised to “put an end to the endless wars,” and he has made no secret of his hope for speeding up the withdrawal as the elections approach.
For his part, US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said on Wednesday that the United States will reduce the number of its troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 by early next year.
Speaking at an event at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, O’Brien added, “When President Trump took office, there were more than 10,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan, and to this day there are fewer than 5,000 troops, and the number will be reduced to 2,500 by early next year.”
On February 29, the Trump administration signed a historic agreement with the Taliban that stipulated the withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan by mid-2021 at the latest in exchange for security commitments from the extremist movement and its engagement in direct peace negotiations with the Kabul government.
In September, the number of US forces in Afghanistan reached 8,600, but the Pentagon indicated at the time that it was preparing for a new phase of withdrawal.