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National Security & Defense

House Committee Moves to Delay Trump’s Afghanistan Withdrawal

President Donald Trump delivers remarks to U.S. troops during an unannounced visit to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, November 28, 2019. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

The House Armed Services Committee voted on Wednesday to set additional conditions to be met before President Trump can withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

There are currently about 8,600 American soldiers in Afghanistan, down from 12,000 in March following the signing of an agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban. Trump has pushed for the U.S. to leave Afghanistan entirely, although violence continues to wrack the central Asian country.

The House committee approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act by Representative Jason Crow (D., Col.), requiring the Trump administration to certify that reduction of troops below certain levels would not impair U.S. counterterrorism operations. If the administration could not demonstrate that troop reductions below 8,000 and subsequently 4,000 would help American interests, the amendment would block funding for the reductions.

The amendment “lays out, in a very responsible level of specificity, what is going to be required if we are going to in fact make decisions about troop levels based on conditions on the ground and based on what’s required for our own security, not based on political timelines,” said Representative Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.).

Trump has reportedly considered withdrawing soldiers from Afghanistan by the November general elections. Pentagon officials have pushed back on the plan, saying a withdrawal would doom the peace agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban.

“We are acting as a police force, not the fighting force that we are, in Afghanistan,” Trump wrote on Twitter in late May. “After 19 years, it is time for them to police their own Country. Bring our soldiers back home but closely watch what is going on and strike with a thunder like never before, if necessary!”

Terrorist attacks continue to plague Afghanistan, and it is often unclear who is responsible for the attacks.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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