Skip to main content
Welcome to
super saver spring
offer ends april 20
save over $140
save over 85%
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks
Welcome to
super saver spring
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

All U.S. troops in Afghanistan should be “home by Christmas,” President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, just hours after his national security adviser said Washington would reduce its forces in Afghanistan to 2,500 by early next year.

A landmark deal between the United States and the Taliban in February said foreign forces would leave Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for counterterrorism guarantees from the Taliban, which agreed to negotiate a permanent ceasefire and a power-sharing formula with the Afghan government.

Trump and other officials have said the United States will go down to between 4,000 and 5,000 troops in Afghanistan around November.

Story continues below advertisement

Beyond that, officials have said that a reduction will depend on conditions in Afghanistan.

On Twitter, Trump said: “We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!”

It was unclear whether Trump was giving an order or verbalizing a long-held aspiration.

Trump, who is seeking re-election next month, has made walking away from “ridiculous endless wars” the cornerstone of his foreign policy, even though thousands of troops remain in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

Just hours before Trump’s tweet, national security adviser Robert O’Brien said the United States had less than 5,000 troops in Afghanistan currently and would go down to 2,500 by early nexMt year.

“Ultimately, the Afghans themselves are going to have to work out an accord, a peace agreement. ... It’s going to be slow progress, it’s going to be hard progress, but we think it’s a necessary step – we think Americans need to come home,” O’Brien told an event at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The National Security Council and White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Story continues below advertisement

The White House’s plan for the drawdown will almost certainly be subject to review should Trump lose his bid for a second term in the Nov. 3 election.

Trump’s comments could further weaken the Afghan government’s leverage during negotiations with the Taliban.

While the talks have been taking place in Qatar’s capital, Doha, scores of Afghan soldiers and Taliban fighters have been killed in clashes. Dozens of civilians have also died in recent weeks.

Testifying before a U.S. House of Representatives committee last month, U.S. Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said that once the number of U.S. troops reached 4,500, the administration “would do an evaluation of ties and actions that we have taken and make decisions on that.”

About 2,400 U.S. service members have been killed in the Afghan conflict and many thousands more wounded.

Wednesday also marks 19 years since the United States invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban rulers who had harbored al Qaeda militants who attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

Story continues below advertisement

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies