President Donald Trump has sped up the timeline for ending the U.S.’s longest war, declaring that he wants to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan before the end of 2020, much sooner than the deadline that his administration has put forward.
In a tweet late on Wednesday night, Oct. 7, President Trump wrote, “We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!”
We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2020
The president’s declaration came just hours after National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said the United States intends to cut its forces in Afghanistan from 5,000 to 2,500 by early 2021.
President Trump has repeatedly promised to end the “endless wars” in Afghanistan and the Middle East, and his latest assertion is expected to make him look good less than a month before Election Day on Nov. 3.
Wednesday also marks the beginning of the 20th year of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, which former President George W. Bush announced in 2001 in response to the Sept. 11 attacks on New York City and Washington.
According to VOA News, the invasion toppled Afghanistan’s then-ruling hard-line Taliban, which harbored the al-Qaeda terror network and its leader Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. But the Taliban has waged a relentless and bloody insurgency against U.S.-backed civilian government since its overthrow.
The Trump administration and the Taliban on Feb. 29 reached an agreement in Qatar, in which the United States promises to pull out all of its forces from Afghanistan by mid-2021 and the Taliban, in return, will not allow extremist groups to use Afghan soil for international attacks.