Donald Trump with US flag behind him 280920 CREDIT PA
Afghanistan

Trump: Personnel In Afghanistan 'Home By Christmas'

The United States has already withdrawn thousands of personnel from the country in 2020.

Donald Trump with US flag behind him 280920 CREDIT PA

Donald Trump says remaining American service personnel in Afghanistan could leave the country by Christmas.

The US President, who days ago returned to the White House after receiving treatment for coronavirus at a military hospital, made the pledge on Twitter.

"We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!" he wrote.

Mr Trump has previously promised to remove troops from "endless wars", generating fears the policy could leave behind power vacuums.

Speaking to US television broadcaster Fox Business, Mr Trump said: "We’ve done a great job, our soldiers have been fantastic, I’ve rebuilt our military, I want our military home."

The US Army's 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan (Picture: US Department of Defense).

Last month, General Kenneth Franklin McKenzie, Commander of US Central Command, said the United States will still be able to stop terror rising in "ungoverned" spaces, despite active troop reduction in the Middle East.

He stated the American military is "in execution of a plan" to reach a national presence of 4,500 in Afghanistan by November.

The general made the announcement via video call from Iraq, a country from which 2,200 American personnel were due to withdraw by the end of September.

In a video message posted on his Twitter account on Thursday, Mr Trump said: "We spent $2.5 trillion, we got everybody pay increases, three of them.

"There’s never seen anything like what I’ve done for the military.

"I just want to tell you, we have your back, our military has never been stronger, it’s never been better, we’ve never had equipment like we have right now.

"We have brand new tanks and planes, F-35s, all of the best of everything.

"Nobody thought it was possible."

In response to the Presidents comments about further withdrawals from Afghanistan, a British Government spokesperson said: "The UK remains committed to supporting the Afghan Defence and Security Forces to become fully self-sufficient in maintaining security for the people of Afghanistan.

"Any decisions relating to the future presence of UK forces in Afghanistan will be made collectively by NATO allies and partners."

In July, more than 4,000 US personnel were withdrawn from across five bases in Afghanistan, with numbers deployed dropping from around 13,000 to 8,600.

The withdrawal, which was first pledged last year, honoured a peace agreement with the Taliban.

There are about 1,000 British troops currently based in Afghanistan as part of Operation Toral – their contribution to the NATO Resolute Support mission.

The UK ended its combat role in Afghanistan in 2014 but personnel remain deployed to the country in non-combat roles, including providing security to NATO advisors and government officials, being on standby for emergencies, and training members of the Afghan Security Forces.

Cover image: PA.