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Trump Expected to Withdraw Thousands of Troops from Afghanistan, Iraq before Leaving Office

President Trump eats dinner with troops at a Thanksgiving dinner event during a surprise visit at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, November 28, 2019. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

U.S. military commanders expect President Trump to issue a formal order to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq before he leaves office on January 20, according to reports.

The Associated Press reports that Trump is expected to withdraw nearly half of U.S. troops in Afghanistan by mid-January, to 2,500, while CNN and Fox News have said the Pentagon has issued a “warning order” to commanders to prepare to draw down troops in Iraq as well.

There are currently roughly 4,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan and 3,000 troops in Iraq.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday pushed back against the prospect of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, saying, “A rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan now would hurt our allies and delight the people who wish us harm.”

“President Trump deserves major credit for reducing American forces in Afghanistan to a sustainable level,” he said. “That same successful approach should continue.”

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