President Donald Trump is planning troop cuts in Afghanistan and Iraq before leaving office, according to The Associated Press.
Trump is expected to cut a “significant” number of troops in Afghanistan and a “smaller number” in Iraq, according to the report.
The plan comes after Trump replaced a slew of top Pentagon officials with loyalists following the election.
The plan is expected to leave about 2,500 troops in both countries, falling short of Trump’s promise to end America’s forever wars. There are currently 4,500 to 5,000 troops in Afghanistan and over 3,000 in Iraq.
President-elect Joe Biden will be the fourth president to oversee the so-called War on Terror which began after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
GOP warns against plan:
Republican leaders warned against hastily pulling troops out against the advice of military brass.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that while Trump has made headway in the war on terror, he risked a “humiliating” withdrawal.
“We need to ensure a residual force is maintained for the foreseeable future to protect U.S. national and homeland security interests and to help secure peace for Afghanistan,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Military officials worried:
Under the plan, the cuts would be completed just five days before Biden is inaugurated.
The quick withdrawal runs counter to advice from military leaders, including General Frank McKenzie, the top US commander in the Middle East.
McKenzie and others argue that the speedy withdrawal risks undermining negotiations with the Taliban and Afghan government and a resurgence of ISIS.
Biden has said that some troops should remain to focus on counterterrorism.
“Americans are rightly weary of our longest war; I am, too,” he said ahead of the election. “But we must end the war responsibly, in a manner that ensures we both guard against threats to our homeland and never have to go back.”