On Wednesday, President Trump announced on Twitter that the “remaining number” of the American troops in Afghanistan will be “home by Christmas.”
“We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!” the president wrote.
Fox News explained that Trump’s tweet suggests that the U.S. “would be completely removing all U.S. forces stationed in Afghanistan since 2001.” However, the president’s statement is contrary to what National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said just hours earlier.
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“When President Trump took office, there were over 10,000 American troops in Afghanistan. As of today, there are under 5,000 and that will go to 2,500 by early next year,” O’Brien said during an event at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.
CNBC mentioned that it was unclear whether the president was “giving an order via tweet or reiterating a long-held campaign promise in order to appeal to voters.”
Trump has formerly directed the Pentagon to reduce the U.S. fighting force in conflict zones, CNBC reported.
In May of this year, the president wrote on Twitter that the country’s role in Afghanistan has been reduced to a “police force” and not a “fighting force.”
“We are acting as a police force, not the fighting force that we are, in Afghanistan. After 19 years, it is time for them to police their own Country. Bring our soldiers back home but closely watch what is going on and strike with a thunder like never before, if necessary!” he tweeted in May.
When reporters asked about the tweet, Trump said the U.S. could go back to Afghanistan if needed. “We can always go back if we have to. If we have to go back, we’ll go back, and we’ll go back raging,” he also said in May.