Members of the Kandahar Province Reconstruction Team depart to conduct an equipment inspection at a Ministry of Public Works facility in Afghanistan on August 8.
Photo: U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy Chacon | Flickr CC
WASHINGTON – Acting Pentagon chief Christopher Miller said Tuesday that the United States would reduce its military presence in Afghanistan to 2,500 troops and 2,500 troops in Iraq by Jan 15.
The United States currently has approximately 4,500 soldiers in Afghanistan and more than 3,000 in Iraq.
Last week, Miller rose to the role of acting Secretary of Defense for the Pentagon after President Donald Trump suddenly resigned Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
Early on a Saturday morning Message to Department of Defense staffMiller said he was “tired of war” and that it was time to end America’s conflicts in the Middle East.
“We are not a people of perpetual war – it is the opposite of everything we stand for that our ancestors fought for. All wars must end,” wrote Miller, adding that the US “was on the verge of becoming Al Qaeda and its associated with defeating. “
“We met the challenge; we gave it our all. Now it’s time to come home,” wrote Miller.
The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have cost US taxpayers more than $ 1.57 trillion since September 11, 2001 Ministry of Defense report. The war in Afghanistan, which has turned into America’s longest running conflict, began 19 years ago and cost $ 193 billion, according to US taxpayers the Pentagon.
Trump, who campaigned to end “ridiculous endless wars” in the Middle East in 2016, went on Twitter last month to announce that the American forces currently serving in Afghanistan will be home by Christmas.
At the time, it was unclear whether Trump tweeted an order or reiterated a long-standing election promise to address voters ahead of the US presidential election.
Earlier this year, the United States signed a peace agreement with the Taliban that would initiate a permanent ceasefire and reduce the US military’s footprint from about 13,000 to 8,600 by mid-July. And by May 2021, all foreign armed forces would leave the war-torn country.
Trump previously directed the Pentagon to reduce U.S. forces in conflict areas.
In 2018, Trump tweeted that the United States would withdraw troops from Syria, a move that sent a shock wave through the Pentagon and contributed in part to the resignation of then-Defense Secretary James Mattis. Trump later overturned his decision to withdraw from Syria.
In May, Trump complained on Twitter that America’s role in Afghanistan had been reduced to a “police force” rather than a “combat force”.
When asked about the tweet from reporters during an event at the White House, Trump said the US could return to Afghanistan if necessary.
“We can always go back if we have to. If we have to go back, we will go back and romp again,” Trump said in May.