US President Donald Trump’s surprise announcement about withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan has already had implications. The decision has forced Trump’s Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis to resign citing policy differences.
While the US maintained a reported presence of just around 2,000 troops in Syria, including special forces, there are about 14,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan with half of them logistics troops and trainers. Media reports suggest 18 US soldiers died in combat this year, with top US commander Gen. Austin Miller narrowly surviving an attack on his life in October.
According to the US Department of Defense, 2,216 American soldiers have been killed in action in Afghanistan and more than 20,000 wounded since 2001. Add to this 28,529 Afghan security personnel killed in Taliban attacks, cross-fights and “collateral damage” since 2015. An estimated 2,798 civilians killed and 5,252 others wounded in countrywide attacks this year, according to UN. Reports suggest Taliban control more territory than at any point since the removal of their regime 17 years ago.