Trump says US to reduce troops to 4,000 in Afghanistan and 2,000 in Iraq as peace talks progress — RT World News

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Saying that “plenty of progress is being made” within the Center East, US President Donald Trump advised reporters there’ll quickly be solely 4,000 US troops in Afghanistan and a couple of,000 in Iraq, with only some in Syria to “guard the oil.”

The reductions will occur “very quickly,” Trump stated. Whereas the Pentagon confirmed the pending withdrawal of some troops earlier this week, that is the primary time the US president had talked about particular numbers.

The numbers didn’t essentially correspond with these offered by US Central Command chief Normal Kenneth McKenzie on Wednesday, nonetheless, as CNN was fast to level out. McKenzie stated the quantity could be diminished to three,000 by the tip of September.

Although the US invaded and occupied Iraq in 2003, these forces withdrew by the tip of 2011. The present troop presence dates again to 2014, when President Barack Obama despatched advisers and a few fight parts to assist the federal government in Baghdad after its US-trained forces collapsed earlier than the onslaught of Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS) militants. All territory claimed by IS in Iraq was liberated throughout Trump’s presidency, for which he has not been shy to take credit score.

Whereas he didn’t immediately hyperlink US presence in Iraq to the continuing confrontation with neighboring Iran, Trump did point out he was assured that Tehran would come to the negotiating desk after his re-election in November, as their economic system was getting devastated by US sanctions. 

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Iran launched a missile assault on two bases internet hosting US troops in Iraq in January of this yr, after Trump ordered the drone assassination of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Normal Qassem Soleimani exterior Baghdad.

A small variety of US troops had been despatched to Syria, towards worldwide legislation and with out invitation from Damascus, to help the Kurdish-led militia that Washington used to battle IS there. Final yr, Trump ordered the withdrawal of most of these forces, leaving solely a small quantity to disclaim the Syrian authorities entry to grease reserves in Kurdish-held territory.

Trump talked about the troop ranges after asserting that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is headed for Qatar to attend peace talks between the Afghan authorities and the Taliban militants, scheduled to start out on Saturday. The US signed a peace take care of the Taliban in February.

The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, after accusing the Taliban authorities of harboring the Al-Qaeda terrorist group, which Washington blamed for the 9/11 assaults. Whereas its chief Osama Bin Laden was killed in a US raid in 2011, US troops remained in Afghanistan to prop up the federal government in Kabul.

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