Donald Trump government considering reduction of troops in Afghanistan
Washington, Dec 21 (IBNS): The US government is planning to reduce its troops posted in Afghanistan, media reports said on Friday.
The US military has been ordered to begin planning to withdraw about half the troops in Afghanistan, a US defence official with direct knowledge of the matter told CNN on Thursday.
The official told the US news channel that the planning is underway, and it could take months to withdraw the nearly 7,000 troops.
The decision has been taken at a time when the US also announced its move of withdrawing its military from Syria.
Several US defence officials told CNN that Trump wants to draw down US troops in Afghanistan.
James Mattis resigns:
Amid reports of differences with US President Donald Trump over plans to withdraw troops from Syria, US Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned on Thursday, media reports said.
"Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position," Mattis wrote in his letter to the President as reported by CNN.
A senior administration official told CNN that Mattis was "vehemently opposed" to the Syria decision and a possible Afghanistan troop withdrawal.
Meanwhile, Trump tweeted that Mattis will retire at the end of February.
"General Jim Mattis will be retiring, with distinction, at the end of February, after having served my Administration as Secretary of Defense for the past two years. During Jim’s tenure, tremendous progress has been made, especially with respect to the purchase of new fighting," Trump tweeted.
The President did not name his successor.
"Equipment. General Mattis was a great help to me in getting allies and other countries to pay their share of military obligations. A new Secretary of Defense will be named shortly. I greatly thank Jim for his service!," he said.
Image: DOnald Trump Facebook page