Defense

Trump admin urges troops in Afghanistan to withdraw from some areas: report

Trump administration officials are urging U.S.-backed troops in Afghanistan to move to more heavily populated areas of the country to avoid attacks in isolated regions, The New York Times reported.

The newspaper, citing three officials familiar with the president's war strategy, said the move away from sparsely populated areas will help concentrate resources on cities like Kabul. 

However, the Times reported that the strategy will likely ensure that the Taliban retains control of large swaths of land.

The strategy is similar to those used under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, creating further uncertainty about the U.S.'s future plans in the nearly 17-year-long war.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this month during a surprise stop in Afghanistan that the U.S. would be willing to engage in peace talks between Afghanistan and the Taliban.

The discussions would be Afghan-led, with the U.S. playing a supporting role, Pompeo said.

President Trump announced a new strategy last summer that included bolstering U.S. forces in Afghanistan by a few thousand to help end a stalemate, bringing the U.S. troop presence to about 14,000.

Trump's strategy also took away a timeline for withdrawal, saying it would be based on the conditions on the ground.

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