US troops pullout to have little impact: Afghan official

US troops pullout to have little impact: Afghan official
US Marines stand guard during the change of command ceremony in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Kabul - US has lost more than 2,400 soldiers and spent more than $900 billion in its longest war.



By AP

Published: Fri 21 Dec 2018, 10:29 PM

Last updated: Sat 22 Dec 2018, 12:31 AM

The withdrawal of half of the 14,000 US troops serving in Afghanistan will have little impact on the fighting capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces, the spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani said.
Haroon Chakansuri was responding to reports the Pentagon is developing plans to withdraw 7,000 American soldiers by the summer. He said Afghanistan's military has been in charge of the country's security since 2014 when more than 100,000 Nato troops withdrew. Since then, US forces have provided training and advice, assisting in military operations only when requested by Afghan troops.
However, the Taleban are stronger today than they have been since their ouster in 2001.
They control or hold sway over nearly half the country, carrying out near daily attacks that mostly target Afghan security forces.
The Taleban have so far refused to comment on the report.
Since leading the multi-nation invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the US has lost more than 2,400 soldiers and spent more than $900 billion in its longest war.
While US soldiers occasionally accompany Afghan troops on ground operations, the bulk of American military action in Afghanistan is the air support provided to Afghan ground troops.
In recent months, there has been a renewed effort to make progress on peace talks with the Taleban. Officials now worry that any move to withdraw US troops this year could dampen those prospects and encourage the Taleban to wait it out until they can take advantage of the gaps when US forces leave.
Withdrawing troops would also seem to contradict US President Donald Trump's earlier statements that promised to deny Taleban insurgents advance warning of US military strategy. Trump strongly criticised former President Barak Obama for announcing the 2014 withdrawal nearly a year before troops left.
For many Afghans there is a mixed reaction to the presence of US and Nato troops.


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