WASHINGTON, DC – In light of possible plans to withdraw up to half of the 14,000 American troops serving in Afghanistan, U.S. officials said yesterday, US Rep. Ro Khanna, member of the House Armed Services Committee, said he supports the pullout.
“I support a responsible withdrawal of American military forces in Afghanistan. If we hope to end the security challenge posed by terrorism, the answer is not an indefinite deployment of U.S. troops in the region,” Rep. Khanna said in a statement. “Instead, we must have a robust, multilateral, and inclusive diplomatic initiative to encourage national reconciliation, local peacebuilding efforts, and the engagement of regional actors such as Pakistan, Iran, Russia, China, and India. The State Department needs a strategy to secure an inclusive and lasting peace settlement, a plan for the full withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country, and sustained support for nonmilitary peacebuilding solutions to secure any political settlement reached by the Afghan people.”
He said a short timeline is needed for withdrawal so there can be a smooth transition, a sense of the intelligence platforms and networks that can replace them to guard against terrorist threats, and a plan on how US would act on actionable intelligence if terrorists posed a threat to our homeland.
“The current approach of engaging in direct talks with the Afghan Taliban as a means to achieving a political solution to the conflict is a good one. After 17 years of war, we need a negotiated political settlement to the war that is acceptable to the Afghan people and allows the United States to end our involvement in war as soon as possible,” the statement said. “Over $43 billion dollars are currently being spent on Afghanistan each year and the Taliban now exerts influence or maintains control over 50 percent of Afghan territory. This shows our military-first strategy and the surge is not working.”
In sum, Trump’s instincts to withdraw are correct. But the tactical implementation matters. He needs to surround himself with people like George Shultz, Bill Perry, Larry Korb, or Ben Rhodes who can help him carry it out.”