Rumours of an American pull-out from Afghanistan appear exaggerated

Jan 04, 2019

HAS HE OR hasn’t he? In late December American media reported that Donald Trump had ordered the Pentagon to begin withdrawing half of America’s troops in the country. The reports seemed credible, in so far as Mr Trump had just announced a withdrawal from Syria (see article) and had very publicly wavered about keeping any troops in Afghanistan at all in 2017, before deciding to increase their number from 8,400 to 14,000. Yet the sudden reversal had come out of the blue. The Afghan government and startled allies with troops in Afghanistan, such as Britain, said they had not been consulted and were awaiting confirmation.

Confirmation has not been forthcoming. Instead, a White House spokesman contradicted the reports on December 28th, saying Mr Trump had not ordered a pull-out. The commander of American forces in Afghanistan also said he had not...

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