GOP lawmaker presses for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, Iraq

Greg Nash

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) is calling on the Trump administration to dramatically reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in the coming weeks. 

In a letter sent to President Trump on Wednesday, the Arizona Republican — who has been a vocal critic of the United States having a prolonged military presence in the region  — said that the country’s involvement in the countries has “been enormously costly in lives and dollars.”

Biggs argued that despite the U.S.’s efforts, Afghanistan still faces many of the same issues seen when American troops first arrived. 

“Having now lasted over 19 years, the war in Afghanistan has been the longest overseas conflict in American history. But, sadly, the situation on the ground today looks much the same now as it did back in 2001, with the Taliban in control of much of the country,” he said.

The president has repeatedly stated he would like to see a full withdrawal from Afghanistan, an issue he highlighted during the course of his campaign.

Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper this week, and the man he replaced Esper with has hired as an aide a top critic of the Afghanistan War who also supports a quick withdrawal of troops.

Defense hawks have raised concerns that withdrawing troops could lead to further destabilization in the region and create a national security threat to the United States and its allies. 

Biggs praised the administration for opening up talks with the Taliban which led to the signing of a conditional peace deal in February, with the promise of full troop withdrawal by May if it abided by its commitment to counterterrorism efforts including denying safe haven to al Qaeda.

“I commend your efforts so far to bring our engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq to an end, including your bold decision to open negotiations with the Taliban and your ambitious plan to remove thousands of United States service members from these two countries,” he concluded. 

“I urge you to continue to aggressively pursue these and all other related efforts in the coming weeks. What greater gift could we give the American people as we head into the holiday season?” 

Tags Afghanistan Donald Trump Iraq

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