The United States currently has 3,500 troops in Afghanistan, 1,000 more than the declared total of 2,500.
This was reported by the New York Times.
The additional number “adds another layer of complexity to the swirling debate at the White House over whether to stick with the deadline” set in the US-Taliban peace deal, according to the outlet.
The report acknowledges that 1,000 was a small number compared to the roughly 100,000 deployed in Afghanistan at the height of the war.
But, this is showing of the attempts of MSM and the many in support of remaining in Afghanistan.
“But the scope of the US presence has become a contentious issue in Afghanistan — where the Taliban want the Americans gone, while the government’s beleaguered security forces rely on US air support,” the newspaper added.
On top of that, many members of Congress had repeatedly called for an increase in troops if the United States decided to stay past the withdrawal date.
An unnamed US official told the NYT that the additional force included Joint Special Operations Command units, some of them elite Army Rangers, who work under both the Pentagon and the CIA while deployed to Afghanistan.
This is also not surprising, it’s common practice to have more troops than admitted.
“From Syria to Yemen to Mali, the United States often details military troops to the CIA or other agencies, declares that information “classified” and refuses to publicly acknowledge their presence,” the report added.
“The Obama administration used similar sleights of hand under the bland, bureaucratic term ‘force management levels,’ which resulted in more troops in war zones with little public oversight.”
Separately, Afghanistan TV Channel TOLO News disclosed the contents of a letter by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
It concerned the slowness of progress in the peace process and the US’ intention to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan by May 1. This was one of the first major concrete steps of the Biden administration in terms of foreign policy.
Blinken’s letter stated: “We are considering the full withdrawal of our forces.” The established practice in international relations requires that, when such an important step is being considered, it is more appropriate to present the move as a common decision of the two countries.
As a reaction to this unilateral approach, Amrullah Saleh, the first vice president of Afghanistan, said:
“They (the US) make decisions on their troops, not on the people of Afghanistan. We will never accept bossy and imposed peace.” Ghani, in turn, said that the future transition of power would occur via elections based on Afghanistan’s constitution, not plans made by “others.” The US should have avoided such an exchange of harsh sentences.
In the letter addressed to the Afghan authorities, there was a reference to two sets of meetings with a view to relaunching the peace process. One of them was proposed at the ministerial level with the participation of Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India and the US. The State Department declined to disclose whether these countries were consulted beforehand.
The second set of meetings is scheduled at the senior officials’ level and that it will be held in Turkey in the coming weeks. The State Department also declined to disclose whether Turkey had agreed to host such a meeting.
The withdrawal is still uncertain, and it appears to be a long way before it can happen, if those wishing to remain get the upper hand.
- On March 14, Taliban attacked a government forces checkpoint in Khanabad. 3 soldiers were killed
- On March 14, ISIS claimed responsibility of a policeman assassination in Jalalabad
- On March 14, at least two people were killed and more than 10 others were injured in two terrorist explosions in the third and sixth districts of Kabul
- On March 14, 23 Taliban members were killed and 7 others were wounded in Bolan and Boshran areas around Lashkargah city, according to the Afghanistan MOD
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