WASHINGTON: The U.S. army has not halted a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Office of Defense told Reuters on Monday, regardless of a new legislation prohibiting more reductions without having the Pentagon sending Congress an assessment of the threats.
“Currently, no new orders have been issued which impression the development of the circumstances-primarily based drawdown expected to reach 2,500 (troops) by Jan. 15, 2021,” it said in a assertion.
The Pentagon’s action will probable anger Republican and Democratic lawmakers opposed to more troop cuts and renew considerations about the outgoing Trump administration’s disdain for Congress, even in its waning days.
“If they are continuing the drawdown, that would be a violation of the law,” explained a congressional aide, speaking on the situation of anonymity.
The White Property declined to remark.
Halting the drawdown could jeopardize the U.S.-backed Afghanistan peace approach as a February 2019 settlement with the Taliban calls for a complete U.S. troop withdrawal by May in return for the insurgents fulfilling safety guarantees.
In November, the Pentagon explained it would decrease the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 by mid-January.
But this thirty day period Congress enacted a defense coverage invoice – overriding a veto by President Donald Trump – that bars making use of money appropriated for fiscal yrs 2020 and 2021 to pay back for a drawdown beneath 4,000 U.S. troops right up until acting Secretary of Protection Christopher Miller submits to Congress a “comprehensive, interagency assessment of the threats and impacts.”
It is unclear how a lot of troops have been moved out of Afghanistan since the legislation passed.
A single defense formal, speaking on situation of anonymity, explained the U.S. troop level by now is close to 3,000.
The laws also necessitates a danger assessment prior to the number of U.S. troops can be lowered beneath 2,000.
The Pentagon reported it was “evaluating” the effect the laws would have on U.S. troop toughness in Afghanistan.
The legislation gave Trump emergency waiver electricity to keep on the drawdown. But it reported that he will have to tell Congress why a waiver is “important” to the countrywide interest and deliver a thorough clarification as to why.
The congressional aide explained the White Property has provided no this sort of waiver conversation.
Some U.S. military services officials urged Trump not to reduce the drive amid a surge in violence in Afghanistan and what they said was the Taliban’s failure to conclusion cooperation with al Qaeda as necessary by the February 2020 agreement with the insurgents.
Yet another U.S. official mentioned the drawdown was presently under way when the legislation went into influence, and it was not something that could be modified “at a drop of a hat.”
The formal did not rule out the regulation slowing down the withdrawal prior to Trump leaves place of work on Jan. 20, when he is succeeded by Democrat Joe Biden, the winner of the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Disclaimer: This publish has been vehicle-posted from an agency feed without the need of any modifications to the textual content and has not been reviewed by an editor