- House and Senate members have agreed the mutual terms for the proposed act and will vote and approve the measure in before sending it to President Donald Trump’s desk
- The proposed bill prevents the department from reducing troop levels below 4,000
US lawmakers are all set to introduce a bill that would delay the withdrawal of US troops until after President Donald Trump has left office, The move will result in reversal of a decision taken by Trump administration to withdraw troops in the summer.
As part of the process, members in House and Senate have agreed the mutual terms for the proposed fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, and will vote and approve the measure in before sending it to President Donald Trump’s desk.
In November, Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller announced plans to slash US troop levels in Afghanistan from about 4,500 down to 2,500 by mid-January 2021. The proposed bill, however, prevents the department from reducing troop levels below 4,000 – or the total number left when the legislation is enacted – until the Pentagon, State Department, and the director of national intelligence detail how a drawdown affects threats to the United States, the counterterrorism mission against the Islamic State, and more.
“The conferees note the South Asia strategy emphasizes the importance of a conditions-based United States presence in Afghanistan in support of ongoing diplomatic efforts to secure a peaceful, negotiated solution to the conflict,” the US lawmakers stated.
They said, “The conferees further note that any decision to reduce the armed forces of the United States in Afghanistan should be done in an orderly manner and in coordination with United States allies and partners and the government of Afghanistan.”
In August, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced that the planned reduction in troop presence would require a Congressional briefing, in order to ensure that the United States is not “threatened by terrorists coming out of Afghanistan”.
Under the historic peace agreement being struck with the Taliban, any sizeable troop reduction (under 4500) in Afghanistan must be contingent upon certain conditions, which include an indefinite ceasefire, a reduction in violence, and significant progress to reach a power-sharing agreement in the current government apparatus.