McConnell Slams Trump’s Plan to Withdraw Troops from Afghanistan and Iraq

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed President Donald Trump’s plan for a swift reduction of U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan, warning that it would be a gift to America’s enemies and would undermine progress already made in the region. “A rapid withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan now would hurt our allies and delight, delight the people who wish us harm,” McConnell said Monday. The Trump administration is expected to cut the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan almost in half to 2,500 by January 15, U.S. officials said Monday. The order would stop short of outgoing President Trump’s goal to have all troops withdrawn by the end of the year, which had faced opposition from military and diplomatic advisers. The decisions come as no surprise, following Trump’s shakeup of the Pentagon leadership last week in which he installed loyalists who share his frustration with the continued troop presence in the war zones. The cuts give Trump an accomplishment in his final weeks in office even as he refuses to concede his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden. Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell warned against a potentially “humiliating” withdrawal that threatens to undo Trump’s “tremendous” work in the region. The GOP leader said a “premature exit” would be reminiscent of the U.S. departure from Saigon in 1975. Leaving Afghanistan now “would be broadcast around the world as a symbol of U.S. defeat and humiliation and a victory for Islamic extremism,” McConnell said.

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