Jim Mattis quits as Trump pulls from Syria, Afghanistan

Arturo Kim
December 22, 2018

As has become customary, us military officials at the Pentagon and Afghanistan had no information to provide about a decision that could affect thousands of USA troops.

"The reality of an urgent and hasty withdrawal will be seen as a defeat and as a retreat", said Amrullah Saleh, the country's former spy chief. Yet reports that the United States wanted the Afghan government to postpone elections and create an interim government to negotiate peace were met with defiance and outrage in Kabul.

The already worsening security situation in Afghanistan is likely to be exacerbated by a US troop reduction, according to analysts. The move will have extraordinary geopolitical ramifications and throws into question the fate of US-backed Kurdish fighters who have been tackling Islamic State jihadists. "I believe we need to pull our troops out of Afghanistan", Khanna told The Intercept in an interview on Wednesday. In the vacuum created by USA disengagement, regional actors such as Pakistan and Russian Federation would throw their support behind Afghan proxies much as they did during the early 1990s.

Peace talks aside, the announced withdrawal has Afghan generals and analysts anxious about the ability of the beleaguered Afghan National Afghan Security Force to stave off a Taliban insurgency unfettered by U.S. troops and their pounding air power. Recent years have seen an emboldened Taliban launch ever-more-audacious attacks on major Afghan cities-including Kabul-while consolidating and expanding the area under their control.

If Trump were to rashly withdraw the remaining US forces without a sound deal, a gradual decline into a new and more vicious phase of civil war is all but guaranteed.

USA troops invaded Afghanistan in November 2001 in response to the September 11 attacks. Analysts say the withdrawal of troops will please United States enemies by clearing the way for Syria's Assad regime, Russian Federation and Iran.

A withdrawal of USA troops may force a reckoning within the Afghan government, which was reportedly caught unawares by the announcement.

Despite those changes, the war has been viewed skeptically at best by the USA public.

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"I have no plans to go back into public service", Keane answered.

His resignation "makes it abundantly clear that we are headed towards a series of grave policy errors which will endanger our nation, damage our alliances and empower our adversaries", Republican senator Marco Rubio said.

"We don't see any signs yet of the withdrawal of USA troops", he said.

Earlier this month, the incoming commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, Lieutenant Richard Clarke, told senators the Taliban was thought to be around 60,000-strong-a much higher number than has been estimated by the military in the past.

Foreign funding, largely from the US, will be critical to prop up security forces until they can stand on their own for many more years, as "full self-sufficiency by 2024 does not appear realistic". This will endanger both local and USA forces who remain on the front lines.

"It will take a while and there are some countries who are ready to exit".

But the Taliban said the withdrawal could in fact assist peace efforts by helping to build trust.

"I can't explain this decision", Graham said, sounding exasperated. They warned that Trump's action could be seen as a breach of trust with the Kurdish allies who have been fighting alongside USA troops in Syria against ISIS, which still poses a threat on the ground.

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