The announcement of the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan is expected before the end of the year. “With or without” a peace agreement with the Taliban, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he wants to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan, so a higher priority can be given to “strategic competition” with China. Esper wants to bring troops home to retrain for new missions, as well as be redeployed to the Indo-Pactific to face the great power competition. He added that, “at the end of the day, the best solution for Afghanistan is a political agreement” between the Taliban and the government, the US removing themselves regardless of that agreement. The ultimate decision is the responsibility of President Trump, meaning downsizing has not officially been ordered. US Senator Lindsey Graham stated that the Afghan security forces are becoming more capable. Past reluctance on the withdrawal from Graham will not interfere with his support for Trump’s expected decision.