Trump hasn’t ordered Pentagon to withdraw troops from Afghanistan

A White House spokesman said Friday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump signs law guaranteeing back pay for federal workers Dems offer measure to raise minimum wage to per hour Congress can stop the war on science MORE has not yet ordered the Pentagon to pull troops out of Afghanistan, contradicting reports last week that the president has called for the withdrawal of 7,000 troops.

“The president has not made a determination to drawdown U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and he has not directed the Department of Defense to begin the process of withdrawing U.S. personnel from Afghanistan,” Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg.

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

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The official statement contradicts previous reports published by Bloomberg and various media outlets from unidentified U.S. officials who said the Pentagon was withdrawing around 7,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan.

There are currently more than 14,000 U.S. service members in Afghanistan, primarily to advise and assist Afghan Security Forces in the fight against al Qaeda and other militant groups.

Trump has long railed against the 17-year-old war, the longest military conflict in U.S. history.

He campaigned on the promise to end “nation-building” missions such as efforts to train Afghan troops but was persuaded by defense officials and then-national security adviser H.R. McMaster to send 4,000 more troops to the country.

Reports of troops' possible drawdown from Afghanistan came after Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would be withdrawing troops from Syria.

Trump claimed that the U.S. “defeated ISIS in Syria” and called for more than 2,000 U.S. service members fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and backing Syrian Kurdish forces in the mission to return home.

The sudden decision to pull troops out of Syria was highly criticized and has been widely credited with prompting Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisGOP reasserts NATO support after report on Trump’s wavering Overnight Defense: Trump faces blowback over report he discussed leaving NATO | Pentagon extends mission on border | Senate advances measure bucking Trump on Russia sanctions Trump suggested withdrawing US from NATO: report MORE to resign. 

Mattis wrote in a striking resignation letter that Trump should choose a replacement "whose views are better aligned with yours."