Trump Orders Withdrawal of Half of Troops in Afghanistan

Yesterday, there were reports that Donald Trump would be ordering the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, following a similar order regarding Syria. Now we know that he has ordered 7,000 troops to be withdrawn, which constitutes about half of the remaining troops in Afghanistan.

Barbara Starr and Jake Tapper at CNN report:
The official said planning is underway, and it could take months to withdraw the nearly 7,000 troops.

...Gen. John Allen, a former commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, told CNN on Thursday that a drawdown in Afghanistan would be a mistake.

"Pulling out right now, just the announcement would create chaos in the strategy," Allen said.

The U.S. has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, most of which are present as part of a larger NATO-led mission to train, advise, and assist Afghan forces. Any withdrawal would be complicated by the fact that the United States is part of NATO's Resolute Support mission.
Trump has openly expressed hostility toward NATO for years, so the fact that withdrawing troops could undermine a NATO alliance is surely a feature, not a bug.

And, as I've repeatedly noted, Trump's subversion of NATO is yet another gift to Vladimir Putin.

In a vacuum, Trump's unilateral decision to withdraw half of the U.S. troops remaining in Afghanistan is a bad one. As part of all the other troubling decisions he's made over the last few days, it's even more unsettling.

All of which, of course, follows more than three years of observable collusion.

It feels like we are suddenly accelerating, forebodingly lurching toward a destination that has long been planned, perhaps even far longer than even our worst assumptions.

I hope to fuck I'm wrong.

And I wish I had something reassuring or hopeful to say. I don't. I hate that I don't. I hate saying things that sound frightening or unmeasured. I hate having this feeling of dread, and I hate expressing it. Even despite everything else that has happened, I don't normally feel scared. I feel scared now.

If you don't, don't let my fear make you feel that way. If you do, know that you're not alone.

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