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Pentagon strikes forward with US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan regardless of regulation barring it

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A Reuters file picture of US troops in Afghanistan.
  • Halting the drawdown might jeopardise the US-backed Afghanistan peace course of
  • In November, the Pentagon stated it could scale back the variety of US forces in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 by mid-January

WASHINGTON: America navy has not stopped troops withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Division of Protection advised Reuters, regardless of a brand new regulation prohibiting additional reductions with out the Pentagon sending Congress an evaluation of the dangers. 

“Currently, no new orders have been issued which impact the progression of the conditions-based drawdown expected to reach 2,500 (troops) by January 15, 2021,” it stated in an announcement.

The Pentagon’s motion will doubtless anger Republican and Democratic lawmakers against additional troop cuts and renew considerations concerning the outgoing Trump administration’s disdain for Congress, even in its waning days. “If they are continuing the drawdown, that would be a violation of the law,” stated a congressional aide, talking on the situation of anonymity.

The White Home declined to remark.

‘Vital milestone’ in Afghanistan peace course of reached: US envoy Khalilzad

Halting the drawdown might jeopardise the US-backed Afghanistan peace course of as a February 2019 settlement with the Taliban calls for a whole US troop withdrawal by Might in return for the insurgents fulfilling safety ensures.

In November, the Pentagon stated it could scale back the variety of US forces in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 by mid-January.

However this month Congress enacted a protection coverage invoice – overriding a veto by President Donald Trump – that bars utilizing funds appropriated for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 to pay for a drawdown beneath 4,000 US troops till performing Secretary of Protection Christopher Miller submits to Congress a “comprehensive, interagency assessment of the risks and impacts.”

It’s unclear what number of troops have been moved out of Afghanistan for the reason that regulation handed. One protection official, talking on situation of anonymity, stated the US troop degree already is shut to three,000.

The laws additionally requires a threat evaluation earlier than the variety of US troops could be decreased beneath 2,000. The Pentagon stated it was “evaluating” the impression the laws would have on US troop energy in Afghanistan.

The laws gave Trump emergency waiver energy to proceed the drawdown. However it stated that he should inform Congress why a waiver is “important” to the nationwide curiosity and supply an in depth clarification as to why.

The congressional aide stated the White Home has offered no such waiver communication.

Some US navy officers urged Trump to not reduce the power amid a surge in violence in Afghanistan and what they stated was the Taliban’s failure to finish cooperation with al Qaeda as required by the February 2020 settlement with the insurgents.

One other US official stated the drawdown was already underneath approach when the regulation went into impact, and it was not one thing that may very well be modified “at a drop of a hat.”

The official didn’t rule out the regulation slowing down the withdrawal earlier than Trump leaves workplace on January 20, when he’s succeeded by Democrat Joe Biden, the winner of the November 3 presidential election.

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