U.S. Defense Secretary: U.S. Troop Drawdowns In Afghanistan ‘Not Necessarily’ Tied To Taliban Deal

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper delivers remarks before ringing the closing NASDAQ bell for Veterans Day in New York, New York, November 11, 2019. Picture taken November 11, 2019. DoD/Lisa Ferdinando/Handout via REUTERS.

Reuters: Exclusive: U.S. troop drawdowns in Afghanistan ‘not necessarily’ tied to Taliban deal – Esper

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday that any future troop drawdowns in Afghanistan were “not necessarily” linked to a deal with Taliban insurgents, suggesting some lowering of force levels may happen irrespective of the ongoing peace push.

The remarks by Esper in an interview with Reuters came on the heels of a Thanksgiving trip last week to Afghanistan by President Donald Trump, who spoke of potential troop reductions and said he believed the Taliban insurgency would agree to a ceasefire in the 18-year-old war.

If honored by all sides, a ceasefire could lead to a significant reduction in violence. But U.S. military commanders would still focus on the threats associated with two other militant groups in Afghanistan: Islamic State and al Qaeda.

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WNU Editor: This is a signal from the U.S. that they want out of Afghanistan, and they are going to do it regardless on what happens at the peace talks.

Author: Anchorman

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