Trump will make a major speech in which he will announce an "additional decrease" in troops in Afghanistan.…
Also has details on Trump's tussle with military advisers on troop reduction: "During a recent White House meeting the issue came up again, officials said, and Trump pushed for bringing home all American forces. But military advisers...argued in favor of keeping...residual force"
"Growing increasingly frustrated at the pushback, Trump made his views known on Twitter. "We should have the small remaining number...home by Christmas!"...Trump's public declaration was intended "to light a fire under the commanders," a senior administration official said."
"The president also dispatched the national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, to publicly lay down a marker, officials said. O'Brien previewed the president's decision to draw down to about 2,500 in early 2021..."

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More from @asfandyarmir

16 Oct
Trump is thinking troops withdrawals from Afghanistan & Somalia. One proposal seems to be to shift Somalia strategy from a broad targeting + train-&-advise campaign to the Idlib model--limited to targeting of int'l terror cells in Shabab.…
"White House convened a small interagency meeting of senior officials late last week to discuss Mr. Trump’s demand for more drastic troop withdrawal options [from Afghanistan and Somalia?], according to three officials..."
On Somalia: "One idea now under consideration would involve removing most or all ground troops from the country...ending strikes aimed at combating or degrading the Shabab, Al Qaeda’s largest and most active global affiliate."
Read 6 tweets
22 Sep
What are the main issues in the US-Pak relationship these days? Today, US ambassador-nominate for Pakistan William Todd detailed them in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Some highlights from his testimony. 1/n…
His summary of where US relationship with Pakistan stands: "...this is a longstanding and important, but always complicated and sometimes contentious relationship. We certainly have our differences, but Pakistan is an essential regional partner..."
Issue #1 is Afghanistan: "Pakistan played a critical role in creating the conditions that brought Afghan leaders and the Taliban to the historic start of Afghan Peace Negotiations. They have an even more important role to play in supporting efforts..."
Read 12 tweets
22 Sep
Today Special Envoy for Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad testified to the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security. Things which struck out: 1/n…
1. In his opening statement, Khalilzad criticizes Afghan leaders for the civil war in the 90s -- saying they "did not behave responsibly or judiciously."…
2. He says the US will "continue to advocate our values, including electoral democracy, rights of women and
religious minorities, [but] recognize that only Afghans can find a sustainable formula that is unique to their history and culture."…
Read 8 tweets
21 Sep
According to this story, ISIS is raising money by selling cigarettes, face masks and through cryptocurrency:…
"...officials from the U.N., the U.S. and the U.K. have been investigating a network...from the Iraqi border town of Rawa...Known as “Selselat al-Thahab,” or the Golden Chain, authorities say the network is transferring cash out of...Eastern Syria to Dubai and through Turkey."
"Islamic State also has sought new opportunities in the Covid-19 pandemic. U.S. law enforcement earlier this year found Islamic State capitalizing on the shortage of safety Turkey sold facemasks and other personal protective gear through online sites..."
Read 4 tweets
20 Sep
Nawaz Sharif’s speech definitely major. He assailed the military — in a way he hasn’t before — for involvement in politics. Also called out the army chief Bajwa without naming him for running a parallel gov’t, rigging the 2018 election, and bringing Khan to power.
I will (try to) post reactions of Pakistani politics watchers that I pay attention to:
Read 14 tweets
17 Sep
Director FBI Wray and Direct NCTC Miller testified on worldwide threats to the @HomelandDems. Assessments on al Qaida and other issues which struck out: 1/n
Director FBI Wray: "...groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (“ISIS”) and al-Qaeda intend to carry out large-scale attacks in the U.S."
Director NCTC Miller: "CT pressure against al-Qa’ida has diminished its cadre of veteran leaders...[but] Leadership losses have not diminished the group’s determination to strike American and Western targets."
Read 8 tweets

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