President Trump is expected to announce a withdrawal of almost half of all US Service Members currently deployed to Afghanistan over the coming months. This decision has drawn sharp criticism from the Pentagon and Capitol Hill both.
US Military Commanders and Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle agree the Afghan Military needs years of additional training and support until it will be able to successfully defend its territory. Even today, the Taliban still controls parts of the country.
President Trump’s Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, resigned in protest partially over this decision, in addition to other differing viewpoints. His interim acting replacement is slated to be a former Boeing executive with no military or diplomatic experience prior to his appointment to Deputy Secretary of Defense by the President in 2017.
There are also concerns over whether allies and US troops on the ground were notified of the force reduction prior to the President’s tweet.
U.S. Marines with Echo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marines, 2D Marine Division, set up a M777A2 Light Towed Howitzer during Exercise Trident Juncture 18 in Driva, Norway on Nov. 2, 2018. Trident Juncture is a multinational NATO exercise that enhances professional relationships and improves overall coordination with Allied and partner nations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Deanna C. Gonzales/Released)
A U.S. Marine fires an M777-A2 Howitzer in the early morning in Syria, June 3, 2017. They have been conducting 24-hour all-weather fire support for the Coalition’s local partners, the Syrian Democratic Forces, as part of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. CJTF-OIR is the global coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Matthew Callahan)
Airborne Artillerymen assigned to 3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division Artillery conduct live fire missions as the sun was rising over Sicily Drop Zone, on Fort Bragg, N.C. Feb. 8, 2016 after their M77A2 155MM medium howitzer was air dropped in the dark of night from a C-17 aircraft . (Capt. Joe Bush, 82nd Airborne Division Artillery/ Released.)
French soldiers, assigned to Task Force Wagram, fire a French Ceasar in support of Operation Roundup, in Al Quim, Iraq, May 16, 2018. As a non-permanent force the Coalition aims to enable the Iraqi security forces to be self-sufficient. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Zakia Gray)