US Congressional Republicans on Monday slammed President Donald Trump’s plan for a swift reduction of US forces in Afghanistan, warning that it would be a gift to America’s enemies.
“A rapid withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan now would hurt our allies and delight the people who wish us harm,” US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
US media reported on Tuesday that President Donald Trump is pushing to accelerate the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
“We’re playing a limited, limited but important role in defending American national security and American interests against terrorists,” said Mitch McConnell.
“That’s why last year, 70 senators, a bipartisan super majority voted for an amendment I authored, it acknowledged the progress made in Syria and Afghanistan, identified the risks that remain, and cautioned that precipitous withdrawal would create vacuums that Iran, Russia and the terrorists would be delighted, delighted to fill,” McConnell said.
He said violence affecting Afghans is still rampant, the “Taliban is not abiding by the conditions of the so-called peace deal.”
“The consequences of a premature American exit would likely be even worse than President Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq back in 2011,” McConnell said.
The US Senate majority leader said that a premature withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan would “embolden the Taliban, especially the deadly Haqqani wing, and risk plunging Afghan women and girls back into what they experienced, back in the 1990s.”
Under a draft order circulating at the Pentagon on Monday, the number of US forces in Afghanistan would be halved from the current deployment of 4,500 troops, The New York Times reported, quoting US officials.
McConnell said the US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan would be welcome news to Iran, “which has long provided arms and support to the Taliban and explicitly seeks our retreat from the Middle East.”
“A disorganized retreat would jeopardize the track record of major successes this administration has worked hard to compile,” McConnell said.
This comes as Defense Ministry on Monday said that the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces are capable to defend the country if there is a withdrawal of international forces from the country. But Afghan experts have said the withdrawal should be done responsibly.
Countries in the region, including Pakistan, Iran and Russia have also asked for a responsible withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
The reports come as violence has significantly increased in the country despite peace efforts. Meanwhile, the peace negotiations in Doha have stalled over differences on ground rules for the talks.