The Trump administration plans to announce further troop drawdowns in Iraq on Wednesday.
A senior administration official told reporters aboard Air Force One late Tuesday to expect an announcement Wednesday on further troop withdrawals from Iraq. The Trump administration is also expected to make an announcement on Afghanistan in the coming days, the official said.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump-backed candidate wins NH GOP Senate primary to take on Shaheen Trump, supporters gather without masks in NC despite request from local GOP official Trump-backed candidate wins NH GOP primary to take on Pappas MORE has campaigned on bringing back American service members from what he describes as “endless wars” abroad. News of the impending announcements comes not two months from the November presidential election.
The top U.S. military commander in the Middle East said last month that the current 5,200 troops in Iraq and Syria would likely be reduced in future months, but he did not provide a specific number. The New York Times reported that troops could be reduced to about 3,500.
The impending announcement comes on the heels of Trump’s meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi last month. In response to a question on attacks on U.S. interests in Iraq over the past 10 months, Trump at the time made clear he hoped to completely withdraw American troops from the country but did not provide a specific timeline.
“We have been taking our troops out of Iraq fairly rapidly, and we look forward to the day when we don’t have to be there. And hopefully Iraq can live their own lives and they can defend themselves, which they’ve been doing long before we got involved,” Trump told reporters.
The Trump administration inked a deal with the Taliban in February aimed at helping bring to an end the near two-decade conflict in Afghanistan to allow U.S. forces to reduce their presence there. Talks between the Taliban and Afghan government, which was not a party to the February deal, are expected to begin this week.