PARIS, (BM) – The French have prepared a surprise for US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Paris next week. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is going to declare to him his resolute disagreement with the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg took a similar position. Speaking at an event dedicated to the NATO 2030 initiative [NATO’s 2030 strategy], he explained his considerations as follows: “In recent weeks, we have witnessed barbaric attacks in France, Austria, and also in Afghanistan. NATO must be able to respond to all these challenges”.
This verbal activity of European politicians is connected with the fact that on the eve of the US President Donald Trump announced his intention to accelerate the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. In addition, Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper over his opposition to the reduction of US troops at foreign bases, especially in Afghanistan.
According to the Politico portal, any step to speed up the withdrawal of troops will lead to a clash between Trump and the US generals and “civilians who oppose too quick withdrawal from Afghanistan,” as the situation there remains unstable.
“The swift and, it seems, almost complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan is out of touch with the data provided by our military, political and intelligence leadership, but rather on the basis of President Trump’s election promise, which is now zealously fulfilled by his party supporters appointed in the last minute to clear the Pentagon is recklessness. It will not make America more secure,” said Marc Polymeropoulos, a retired senior CIA operative, among others.
Turkey is showing a keen interest in Afghanistan. The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad had already met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara on the eve to “discuss regional developments.” Following these talks, Cavusoglu tweeted: “I discussed the latest developments in the peace process in Afghanistan with the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad. We will continue our strong support for efforts towards peace and stability in Afghanistan”.
The Pentagon explained the transfer of troops in Europe
Pentagon chief Mark Esper said that the US military is being transferred from Germany to Eastern Europe in order to contain Russia, as we reported in August this year citing news agency Gazeta. According to him, most of the US allies consider Washington’s decision to redeploy troops “a good step.”
“We are moving more troops further east, closer to the Russian borders, in order to contain them (Russia. – Gazeta.Ru),” the head of the US defense department said, RIA Novosti reports.
Earlier, the head of the White House, Donald Trump, said on Twitter that he sees no reason to protect Germany from the “Russian threat.” According to him, Germany annually pays Russia billions of dollars for energy. “And we have to defend Germany from Russia? What is this anyway?” Trump was indignant, talking about the withdrawal of a third of the American military from German bases.
Relations between Germany and the United States have now cooled because of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, in which the Germans are interested, but which is contrary to the economic interests of Washington. Trump also denounced Berlin for “insufficient efforts” to ensure NATO’s collective defense. According to the American leader, the Germans spend insufficient funds on the military needs of the alliance, less than 2% of GDP.
“Therefore, we are withdrawing part of our troops from Germany!” – he stressed. The US Armed Forces will withdraw 11.9 thousand troops from Germany.
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