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The 18-year US war in Afghanistan has become a “political liability” for the administration of President Donald Trump and is growing more unpopular in the United States, says an American political analyst in Virginia.
“Americans increasingly are in favor of withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan,” said Keith Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com.
The US military “is trying to pull out gradually without giving the appearance of having been defeated; American policy makers do not want to view themselves as having lost the war in Afghanistan,” Preston told Press TV on Thursday.
“I suspect that what they want to do is maintain a puppet government in Afghanistan that will most likely continue in the same way that the current government has, which is essentially an American puppet,” he added.
Trump said Thursday that the US plans to reduce the number of American troops in Afghanistan from 14,000 to 8,600 and then will determine further drawdowns.
In an interview with Fox News, Trump said the US will keep a troop presence in Afghanistan even if Washington reaches an agreement with the Taliban.
“We’re going down to 8,600 [troops] and then we make a determination from there,” the US president said. “We’re always going to have a presence.”
Trump has repeatedly advocated for bringing US troops back from Afghanistan, putting him at odds with hawkish Republican lawmakers like Senator Lindsey Graham.
US officials have held several rounds of direct negotiations with the Taliban to pull out American forces in exchange for concessions. The militant group says it does not recognize the government in Kabul.
The Taliban said on Wednesday it was close to a “final agreement” with US officials on a deal that would see American forces withdraw from Afghanistan in exchange for a pledge that the country would not become a haven for other militant groups.
The US invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the ruling Taliban regime. US troops were first sent to Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
American forces have since remained bogged down in Afghanistan through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now, Donald Trump.