Mattis resigned after president refused to listen

Of course Trump should withdraw troops from Syria — and everywhere else for that matter

In either of these scenarios, there's the strong possibility, if not likelihood, of a bloodbath of forces that relied on USA protection and, in some cases, risked their lives fighting alongside Americans.

The U.S. President Donald Trump is planning to withdraw more than 5,000 U.S. soldiers from Afghanistan amid reports verbal orders have been given to start work on withdrawal plans.

More than 2,400 United States forces have died in the 17-year-old war in Afghanistan, and Pentagon officials have repeatedly warned that a precipitous exit would allow militants to develop new plots on America like the 9/11 attacks that plunged the USA into an era of open-ended warfare. "Why are we fighting for our enemy, Syria, by staying & killing ISIS for them, Russia, Iran & other locals?"

The conflict in the wake of the Soviet withdrawal led to the rise of the hard-line Taliban group, which harbored al-Qaida in the years leading up to the 9/11 attacks. But a senior Taliban commander welcomed the decision.

"We are more than happy, they realised the truth. Possibly, if permitted", he was quoted as saying by USA news outlets.

He also said that the USA fight against ISIS has only helped the Assad regime and its backers, Iran and Russian Federation, suggesting that withdrawal will make things more hard for them.

But a spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani downplayed the effect of any pullout.

Peace talks aside, the announced withdrawal has Afghan generals and analysts anxious about the ability of the beleaguered Afghan National Afghan Security Force to stave off a Taliban insurgency unfettered by USA troops and their pounding air power.

But Afghans across the country expressed fears that a United States troop withdrawal could derail peace efforts, return the Taliban to power, and dissolve the country into civil war.

"I'm not questioning his motivations", Graham said.

Conflict in Afghanistan goes all the way back to the 1970s.

More news: Paul Ince: Too many United players ‘not fit to wear the shirt’

But a former senior State Department official familiar with the issue said that the Taliban representatives rejected a proposal by Khalilzad for a ceasefire and demanded that the talks focus on a U.S. withdrawal.

If Trump's decision had been based on a settlement with the Taliban, that would be understandable, Ludin said, but he feared it was based on American politics again and would embolden the militants.

There are 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, thousands of whom will be withdrawn, officials told AFP and Reuters news agencies. But earlier this year, he was persuaded by Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and others military leaders to keep troops on the ground to pressure the Taliban and battle a stubborn Daesh insurgency.

Critics suggest the president's twin foreign policy decisions on Syria and Afghanistan could unspool a series of cascading and unpredictable events across the Middle East and in Afghanistan.

Republican senator Lindsey Graham tweeted that any withdrawal of troops would be a "high risk strategy" which could reverse United States progress in the region and pave the way toward a "second 9/11".

Ordinary Afghans have mixed feelings about the presence of US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops. The US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation retreated into a training and advising role.

Ghani said last month almost 30,000 Afghan security forces had been killed since the start of 2015, a figure much higher than anything previously acknowledged. It was unclear whether that figure referred to deaths or also included injuries.

Afghanistan's security forces rely heavily on U.S. air power against both the Taliban and an upstart Islamic State affiliate, and Afghan military officials noted the announcement by the Trump administration comes as the country's security is at its worst since 2014. Three US presidents have pledged to bring peace to Afghanistan, either by adding or withdrawing troops, by engaging the Taliban or shunning them, and by struggling to combat widespread corruption in the government.

"A complete withdrawal of U.S. forces would very likely cause the Taliban to make gains in key areas throughout Afghanistan", he added. More than 2,400 American soldiers have also died in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion.

The 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan do not take an active fighting role and haven't for years. In a speech, Trump said that his "original instinct" was to pull out but that he changed his mind after "many meetings".

The decision emerged a day after Trump said he would pull USA forces from Syria, a move most of his national security team had opposed for months.

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