Statement by the DPPC on the Trump Administration’s Troop Drawdown in Afghanistan
The DPPC expresses grave concern about the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. The withdrawal jeopardizes U.S. national security interests, the safety of U.S. allies in Afghanistan, and the future of Afghan men, women and children. Moreover, the withdrawal rewards the Taliban insurgency, despite their blatant violation of the February peace agreement with the United States. This decision will lead to a further increase in Taliban violence, and strengthening of their already close ties with terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and the Haqqani network.
As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, in a statement that echoes the concerns of many of our Democratic and Republican allies in Congress, “A rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan now would hurt our allies and delight the people who wish us harm.”
Numerous U.S. officials in Afghanistan, including Commanding General of U.S. forces Scott Miller and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, have spoken out against the increase in Taliban violent attacks throughout the country against military personnel, and targeted assassinations of school children, college students, journalists and members of civil society.
The Taliban insurgency has used violence as a means to strengthen their negotiating position in Doha. We fear that the reduction in troops will be followed by an immediate offensive to increase territorial gains, kill Afghan Security Forces, and assassinate more members of Afghan society whose very existence threatens the Taliban’s barbaric ideology.