President Trump Announces Troop Withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq
On August 8. 2020, a Trump administration official announced that he will increase troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to the Times of Israel, the Trump administration official informed reporters that Trump is expected to make the announcement on August 9 regarding the Iraq withdrawal. The Afghanistan withdrawal announcement is supposed to come in the next few days.
Back during a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi in August, Trump revealed that American troops would be taken out of Iraq, although he did not provide a concrete timetable for the withdrawal.
These talks have increased after Iranian-backed proxies have dialed up on their attacks against American targets.
In the last few months, the Iraqi government has faced significant pressure to kick out the approximately 5,000 American troops stationed in the country to allegedly combat jihadists.
Although the American military withdrew from Iraq at the end of 2011, a residual force was initially left behind at the U.S. embassy.
However, more American forces were sent in subsequent years to assist Iraqi forces in fighting off the Islamic State, which took off in 2014.
As far as Afghanistan is concerned, the U.S. currently has 8,600 soldiers in compliance with a bilateral agreement that Washington and the Taliban signed off on back in February.
In August, the Pentagon announced plans to slash troops below 5,000 as peace talks between the two groups continue.
During a previous interview with Axios, Trump revealed that this administration aimed to scale down the presence to around 4,000 to 5,000 troops in Afghanistan by the time presidential elections take place in November.
Per the U.S.-Taliban deal, all foreign troops are expected to leave Afghanistan by next spring.
Trump has made it a point to call out the endless wars and carve out plans to get the U.S. out of foreign policy entanglements in the Middle East.
So far, it has been difficult for the Trump administration to see its vision through due to the entrenched nature of the defense industry and the lack of America First personnel in his administration.
For Trump to actually make his vision of foreign policy restrain a reality, he will need to start promoting more realist personnel and allies that actually believe in restraint.