Bringing American soldiers home: President Trump’s pledge is not easy to fulfill

Bringing American soldiers home: President Trump’s pledge is not easy to fulfill

In Trump’s view, the policies of the Democratic administrations of the past to maintain US military forces abroad did not benefit the American people.

US President Donald Trump visits American soldiers at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving, November 28, 2019. (Photo: AFP)

In the final months of his term of office, President of America Donald Trump has formally ordered the Pentagon to reduce the number of US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq to their lowest level in nearly two decades since Washington put troops on these two battlefields.

This decision has brought Mr. Trump closer to realizing his commitment four years ago, that is to end the “endless” wars of America abroad. Accordingly, before January 15, 2021, the Pentagon will reduce the number of US troops in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 and that in Iraq from 3,000 to 2,500.

“Bringing US soldiers home” is one of the remarkable commitments of President Trump when he officially took office in January 2017. Over the past four years, President Trump has repeatedly criticized the US’s nagging wars abroad, especially in Afghanistan, and directed to seek a deal to quickly withdraw all US troops stationed in the country. “hot spots” like Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria.

President Trump argues that Democrats have waged “unnecessary wars” and put the burden of foreign intervention on the American people through taxes that people have to pay. In Trump’s view, the policies of the Democratic administrations of the past to maintain US military forces abroad did not benefit the American people.

In the last election campaign, President Trump also used this issue as a “card” to criticize the Democrats, and at the same time repeated his pledge to accelerate the process of withdrawing US forces in these countries.

Under the Trump administration, the United States decided to withdraw its troops from northern Syria, leaving only a task force of more than 1,000 troops in this Middle Eastern country. In Iraq, President Trump has also significantly reduced the number of troops from the original size of more than 5,000 soldiers.

In particular, in the Afghanistan battlefield, in February, the US reached a historic agreement with the Taliban, paving the way for the process of withdrawing all 13,000 US troops from the southwest Asian country in 14 months. from the date of signing. The withdrawal agreement is expected to lead to a dialogue between the governments of Afghanistan and the Taliban, which, if successful, will end the longest war in US history in Afghanistan spanning 19 years.

In July, the US completed the first phase of its withdrawal agreement, which reduced it to 8,600 soldiers in 135 days. After this first withdrawal, Washington moved on to withdraw all troops and this process could take up to a year if things go well.

In fact, over the past four years, Washington has focused on relocating and strategic repositioning of the roughly 200,000 troops stationed in various parts of the world. Not only in hot spots, with the policy of “America first,” President Trump decided to withdraw 6,400 soldiers from Germany, citing the full burden of the budget to maintain the forces and the alliance here. the United States and the American people, while Berlin does not contribute its responsibility to the defense budget of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Analysts say that although Afghanistan and Iraq are “costly” battlefields for the US, Washington does not seem to meet the goals set out when deploying troops here. Even in a certain sense, the presence of the invisible American military brings chaos to these countries, and that makes the US image and reputation decline.

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US soldiers and military equipment prepare to leave the base near Nasiriyah, Iraq. (Photo: AFP / VNA)

For example, the war in Afghanistan, the prolonged war cost the US more than $ 1 trillion. US troops were deployed to the southwest Asian country in 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, with Washington’s goal of destroying the Al-Qaeda terrorist network and toppling the Taliban regime. The number of American troops here has steadily increased, reaching more than 110,000.

During the 19 years of fighting, the United States lost more than 2,300 soldiers and about 20,000 were wounded. Hundreds of Afghans are killed in US military airstrikes each year. Although the US has reached an agreement with the Taliban, up to this point, it cannot be said about security and stability in Afghanistan when, recently, on November 2, three gunmen broke into Kabul University and Firing in classrooms for several hours left at least 22 people dead and about 30 others injured. Later, the terrorist organization “Islamic State” (IS) claimed to cause this bloody shooting.

The situation has not improved either in Iraq, where the US has deployed troops since 2003 on the grounds of “removing chemical weapons by the administration of President Saddam Hussein, who is also accused by Washington of” supporting Al terrorists. -Qaeda. “Years after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s presidential administration, the West admits there is no evidence of so-called” chemical weapons “in Iraq.

The country plunged into a devastating sectarian conflict, with the aftermath of tens of thousands of civilians dead. More than 20,000 US soldiers were added to Iraq to maintain order, but terrorism, violence, and conflict are still a daily story in Iraq, not to mention the positions of the US troops as targets of attack.

On the evening of November 17, shortly after President Trump issued the order to withdraw 500 troops from Iraq, at least four rockets fell into the highly secured Green Zone in the capital Baghdad – an area of ​​government buildings and buildings. foreign diplomatic missions. The siren has sounded at the US Embassy in the Green Zone. Since October 2019, nearly 90 fatal rocket and roadside bomb attacks have targeted embassies, foreign soldiers and other arsenals across Iraq.

It can be said that what is happening in both Afghanistan and Iraq is not quite the same as the statement of the acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, claiming that the US has achieved its goals, which is to defeat Islamic elements. radical education and supporting local security forces take a leading role in the fight against terrorism in the region. Therefore, the decision of President Trump also caused a backlash in the US Congress.

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The US withdrew part of its troops from Syria in October 2019. (Photo: AFP)

Separately with AfghanistanSenior Republicans and Democrats are concerned that the decision will undermine national security and threaten the fragile peace negotiations between the governments of Afghanistan and the Taliban. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell warned President Trump’s plan would give extremists a “big propaganda victory” and create space for the Taliban to gain control of Afghanistan, as well as letting the self-proclaimed IS organization and the Al-Qaeda network revive.

Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said that President Trump’s “hasty” withdrawal without close coordination with NATO risks once again turning Afghanistan into “a fertile ground for terrorism. “. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg himself warned of the “very expensive cost” of early withdrawal as IS could revive the “kingdom of terror” in Afghanistan, after it was lost in Syria and Iraq.

Sharing the concern, many military officials have repeatedly urged President Trump to maintain about 4,500 soldiers in Afghanistan at current levels. Analysts also argue that current de facto conditions in the southwest Asian country do not guarantee the withdrawal of US troops, as the Taliban have failed to maintain an agreement with the US on peace in the country. Besides, the quick withdrawal can also leave a series of new challenges for the future US administration.

Another flow of opinion is that the withdrawal of US troops from such key areas will facilitate competitors with US interests to expand their influence. That further weakens the United States’ position in important regions, such as the Middle East or Central Asia.

Before the US presidential election on November 3, many experts said that the strategy of withdrawing and avoiding foreign interference could help President Trump win, because the US is facing many problems at the moment. at home rather than abroad. Up to this point, the election results have not been finalized, although the US media information that Democratic candidate Joe Biden is elected.

Such ambiguity also affects the implementation of President Trump’s decisions, including plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. It is not yet certain whether President Trump’s decision will be taken, but for the time being they are causing divisions and controversy within the United States.