skip to main content

2,500 US troops left in Afghanistan after Trump administration seeks Congressional ‘waiver'

The Pentagon has reduced the US military footprint inside Afghanistan to 2,500 troops after seeking a ‘waiver’ to circumvent a Congressional mandate to pause reductions, according to Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller.

This follows Miller’s announcement in November 2020 of a plan to slash US troop levels in Afghanistan from about 4,500 down to 2,500 by mid-January.

“With a force of 2,500, commanders have what they need to keep America, our people and our interests safe,” Miller wrote in a 15 January statement. “Working alongside our NATO allies and partners, the United States will continue to execute both our counterterrorism mission and the train, advise and assist mission in support of Afghan Security Forces working to secure peace in their country.”

In late December 2020, however, lawmakers overrode President Donald Trump’s veto of the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (FY 2021 NDAA). The legislation stipulates that Department of Defense (DoD) cannot reduce troop levels below 4,000 in Afghanistan – or the total number left when the legislation is enacted – until the Pentagon, State Department, and the director of national intelligence detail how a drawdown affects threats to the US, the counterterrorism mission against the Islamic State, and more.

“The conferees note the South Asia strategy emphasizes the importance of a conditions-based United States presence in Afghanistan in support of ongoing diplomatic efforts to secure a peaceful, negotiated solution to the conflict,” lawmakers wrote. “The conferees further note that any decision to reduce the armed forces of the United States in Afghanistan should be done in an orderly manner and in coordination with United States allies and partners and the government of Afghanistan.”

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...