Trump considering major drawdown in US troops in Afghanistan: reports

Source: The Hill | December 20, 2018 | Jesse Byrnes and Ellen Mitchell

The Trump administration is considering a major drawdown in the number of U.S. military personnel stationed in Afghanistan, according to multiple reports Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the administration is considering a “significant drawdown” of U.S. troops in the country, saying it could start as soon as within several weeks.

Reuters, citing two officials, similarly reported that the administration was considering a “significant reduction” in military personnel in the country.

The White House and Pentagon did not immediately return requests for comment from The Hill on Thursday.

The reports came shortly before news emerged Thursday afternoon that Defense Secretary James Mattis had submitted his resignation to President Trump, effective in February. Mattis wrote in his resignation letter that Trump should choose a replacement “whose views are better aligned with yours.”

Reports about a drawdown in Afghanistan also come one day after Trump stoked anger and confusion among a number of lawmakers and officials with his surprise decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria.

Several lawmakers said they were not given any advance notice about the president’s announcement involving the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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