Taliban leaders have reacted with open delight, welcoming Trump’s Oct. 7 statement and reportedly telling CBS News that they hoped he will win reelection in November. The group’s top spokesman later said his comment to that effect had been “incorrectly” interpreted, after it set off a frenzy of controversy and was rejected by the White House.
But many Afghans and analysts say they fear that if Trump follows through, abruptly dropping the U.S.-Taliban agreement for a conditions-based and gradual pullout of the about 4,500 remaining U.S. troops by May, the country may plunge again into full-scale war and political mayhem.
“If the withdrawal takes place according to the tweet, it will create chaos. The peace process will collapse, and we will go back to square one,” said Ehsanullah Zia, a former senior Afghan official who heads the Kabul office of the U.S. Institute of Peace. “This is the only thing
An airman observes an Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan, Feb. 9, 2018.
U.S. Army photo
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump, who campaigned in 2016 on ending “ridiculous endless wars” in the Middle East, took to Twitter on Wednesday to announce that American forces currently serving in Afghanistan will be home by Christmas.
It was unclear if Trump, who is seeking reelection next month, was giving an order via tweet or reiterating a long-held campaign promise in order to appeal to voters.
The Taliban welcomed Trump’s announcement, saying it was a positive step toward a peace agreement.
Earlier this year, the United States brokered a peace deal with the Taliban that would usher in a permanent cease-fire and reduce the U.S. military’s footprint from approximately 13,000 to 8,600 by mid-July. And by May 2021, all foreign forces would leave the war-torn country.
Trump’s tweet Wednesday came
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – All U.S. troops in Afghanistan should be “home by Christmas,” President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, just hours after his national security adviser said Washington would reduce its forces in Afghanistan to 2,500 by early next year.
A landmark deal between the United States and the Taliban in February said foreign forces would leave Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for counterterrorism guarantees from the Taliban, which agreed to negotiate a permanent ceasefire and a power-sharing formula with the Afghan government.
Trump and other officials have said the United States will go down to between 4,000 and 5,000 troops in Afghanistan around November.
Beyond that, officials have said that a reduction will depend on conditions in
In its own deal struck earlier this year with the Taliban, the Trump administration said it would remove all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by next spring if the Taliban complied with certain conditions, including a reduction in violence and the Taliban severing all relations with al-Qaeda militants.
Afghan government officials have said they see no evidence of such a break, and the level of violence has sharply increased in Afghanistan in recent months.
U.S. military officials last month announced that U.S. troop deployments would be reduced from about 8,600 to about 4,000 this fall but have said a full withdrawal would come only if conditions permit. U.S. forces in Afghanistan peaked around 100,000 under the Obama administration. Although they had fallen dramatically by the time Trump took office, he added several thousand early in his term on the recommendation of the military.
Earlier in the day, White House national security
President Trump on Wednesday tweeted that the U.S. troops in Afghanistan “should” be home by Christmas, but it’s unclear whether the president meant he’s ordering troops home, or rather he merely wants them to come home.
Such a move would be against the current advice of his military commanders, who do not believe it is safe to go below 4,500 troops unless the Taliban breaks with al Qaeda and reduces the level of violence. In February, the U.S. and the Talibanto withdraw in the spring of 2021.
“We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!” the president tweeted Wednesday evening, shortly before the vice presidential debate.
The administration already announced the U.S. would be, as a part of the president’s follow through on his campaign promise
“There are people behind the people,” Deesha Dyer, the White House social secretary under Barack Obama, told us. And “they don’t have the privilege of being Marine One-ed to Walter Reed” if they get sick.
Asked to describe the mood inside the White House, one staffer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he fears for his job, called the fallout from the Trumps’ diagnosis “a huge mess.” He found out about the president’s and first lady’s illness through news reports. “That happens all the time in this administration,” he said. Other White House officials have also recently tested positive, including White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and two of her deputies. For now, the staffer said he’s “just waiting and worried for my friends and their families.”
Of all the employees working on the White House grounds, perhaps
Let’s begin with what we know about the president’s vital signs, which are called “vital” for a reason. They are the single most important descriptor of how patients are doing. It’s also not enough to have one set of vitals, but to see trends. When doctors and nurses do rounds in the hospital, we pore over charts of all of the patient’s vitals during the past 24 hours.
We don’t have these numbers for Trump. During Saturday’s news conference, Conley described his patient’s vitals as “great.” Less than an hour later, an anonymous source (later identified as White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows) said that the president’s vital signs had been “very concerning.” If both are true, then that in itself is worrisome: It points to a changing clinical picture that must be closely followed.
In particular, we need to be watchful of the president’s respiratory status. In many
Every generation delivers its own update to the worry, as old as democracy, that military crusades abroad will come back to damage freedom at home. The Founders of the United States, haunted by ancient Rome’s descent from republic to empire, resisted establishing a standing army. At the end of the First World War, the American Civil Liberties Union formed in opposition to mass arrests and deportations carried out by the Department of Justice. In our own time, it seemed apparent, until recently, that the main blowback of the war on terror would be the surveillance state inaugurated by the Patriot Act of 2001. Yet, while troubling, mass surveillance did not prompt most Americans to think that their country had become fundamentally unfree. The link between foreign intervention and domestic repression retained an almost metaphorical quality, as when Secretary of State John Quincy Adams warned, in 1821, that if it became
Trump Administration Invests $268 Million in Rural Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Improvements in 28 States
Projects Will Improve Rural Water Infrastructure for 267,000 Rural Residents and Businesses
WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2020 – The Trump Administration today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $268 million to modernize rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure across 28 states (PDF, 222 KB).
“Upgrading the infrastructure that delivers safe drinking water and modern wastewater management facilities will improve public health and drive economic development in our small towns and cities,” Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is a strong partner with rural communities, because we know that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
USDA is funding 76 projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. These investments will help to improve rural water infrastructure for 267,000 residents. For example:
- The city of Greenville, Ill., will
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – The Trump Administration has invested over $354,000 in energy efficiency improvements in Rural Kansas, helping 17 small businesses and agricultural producers lower their energy costs.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says its Rural Development State Director for Kansas, Lynne Hinrichsen, announced it is investing $558,552 in order to make energy efficiency improvements and reduce costs for farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses and institutions in Kansas.
“By improving the energy efficiency of farms and businesses, energy expenses are decreased and new opportunities for improvement are created elsewhere,” said Hinrichsen. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA continues to be a strong partner to rural Kansas in building stronger and healthier communities through energy efficiency, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
The USDA said those receiving grants are as follows: