US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended President Trump's plan to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 by mid-January, saying that getting American troops out of “harm’s way” in Afghanistan “is the mission set.”
Quoted in a report by Fox News on Thursday, Pompeo said no troops in the country would not mean no security for Americans.
“President Trump has been very clear we’re going to protect and secure the homeland, but we’re not going to have our young men and women in harm’s way when it doesn’t deliver real security benefits for the United States and for our allies,” Pompeo as quoted by Fox News.
“The president to date has said that we’re going to go from where we are today, something just over 4,000, to around 2,500” troops, Pompeo said as quoted by Fox News.
“The threat from terrorism around the world — from Islamic extremism, Islamic terrorism — is real. It doesn’t just emanate from Afghanistan,” Pompeo said as quoted by Fox News.
He said the threats are always evolving and American policy in the Middle East can be dynamic.
“We have the force posture right today,” Pompeo said as quoted by Fox News. “We’re going to keep it right. We’ll get our troops home when we can, and we’ll do the things we need to do.”
“We are safer here in the United States today as a result of the things the Trump administration has done not only in Afghanistan but throughout that region,” Pompeo said as quoted in the report.
Many former US officials and US allies have opposed Trump’s plan to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg this week said that an early and hasty withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan might endanger the gains “we have made, and that’s a risky project.”
He said the US’s position on the withdrawal is clear as it the United States is going to reduce its presence in Afghanistan from roughly 4,500 to around 2,500 troops.
Violence remains high in Afghanistan despite efforts for peace. Last week, the Defense Ministry reported clashes in more than 20 provinces.