New Pentagon chief hires adviser who wants to withdraw quickly from Afghanistan

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New acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller has hired a senior adviser who has frequently called for the swift withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the Defense Department confirmed on Wednesday.Retired Colonel Douglas Macgregor “will serve as Senior Advisor to the Acting Secretary of Defense. Mr. MacGregor’s decades of military experience will be used to assist in the continued implementation of the president’s national security priorities, ”a Pentagon spokesperson told The Hill.

Macgregor, a frequent Fox News guest and Trump’s failed choice for US Ambassador to Germany, repeatedly over the past year, has pleaded for the US to withdraw its forces from conflicts in the Middle East .

In a January interview with Fox News Tucker CarlsonSchmidt from Tucker CarlsonLincoln Project: Carlson could be 2024 GOP favorite Limbaugh reflects on comments referring to Biden as winner Fox’s Baier: 2020 race in major battlegrounds ‘shrinking fast’ MORE, MacGregor said only Trump can end the war in Afghanistan.

“He promised to do it a long time ago and he disappointed a lot of us because he didn’t. He can get up tomorrow and leave us. But he has to kick everyone out of the Oval Office who keeps telling him, “If you do this and something bad happens, you will be responsible for it, Mr. Chairman.” He needs to say, “I don’t care,” MacGregor said at the time.

He also said the United States should withdraw the American embassy from Kabul, Afghanistan.

Axios was the first to report on hiring on Wednesday, a move meant to help quickly withdraw US troops from the Middle East before the Trump administration ends in January, three people familiar with the move told the media outlet. .

Trump ran in 2016 on a promise to stop “endless wars” and bring US troops home after foreign conflicts, especially the war in Afghanistan that has lasted 19 years.

But the promise proved difficult to keep. In 2017, Trump announced that Washington would increase U.S. troops in Afghanistan from 8,600 to around 14,000 on the advice of its military advisers.

Then, in the summer of 2019, the Trump administration planned to negotiate with the Taliban to bring the levels of American forces back to where they were when Trump took office. Negotiations were called off in December, however, after a Taliban attack killed a US soldier.

In February, the administration resumed talks and signed a conditional peace deal with the Taliban that demands a complete US withdrawal by May if the insurgents honor counterterrorism commitments such as denial of refuge to Al- Qaeda.

But since signing the agreement, the Taliban have stepped up their attacks on Afghan forces. Such attacks do not violate the agreement, but US officials have repeatedly condemned the level of violence as unacceptable and threatening the peace process.

Trump was reportedly frustrated with the pace of the troop withdrawal, and weeks before the presidential election, he allegedly claimed on Twitter that the forces would have returned by Christmas.

The tweet, which came just hours after his national security adviser said the United States would cut to around 2,500 troops in Afghanistan early next year, caused confusion.

Senior Pentagon officials said they had not yet been ordered to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year.

Macgregor, a Trump stalwart, will likely contribute to an accelerated exit plan before the president leaves the White House in about 70 days.

His hiring is causing concern, as his controversial rhetoric about Muslims and undocumented immigrants provoked the then Defense Secretary. Mark EsperMark EsperTop Republicans Signal Support For CIA Director As They Talk About His Possible ouster Overnight Defense: Pentagon faces leadership reshuffle after Trump sacked Esper | Trump endorses UAE arms package | Senate committee proposes spending bill 6B CIA director meets with McConnell amid speculation over possible dismissal to pass him earlier this year for the post of Pentagon chief policy officer.

Macgregor said the European Union and Germany were too welcoming to “unwanted Muslim invaders” and that Muslim immigrants were entering “with the aim of ultimately turning Europe into an Islamic state,” a rhetoric that blocked its chances as US Ambassador to Germany.

Trump in July appointed Macgregor to replace ambassador Richard GrenellRichard Grenell’s QuestionsHunter Biden Too Important for Media to Reject Trump Looks into Attacks on Biden’s Family, Trade Relations Trump Should Get Hunter Biden’s Former Business Partner to Debate MORE, who left the post in June.

Macgregor has also pushed for martial law on the US-Mexico border.

Lawmakers and advocacy groups at the time called on the White House to withdraw MacGregor’s appointment over his inflammatory comments.

Macgregor’s hiring also comes days after Trump ousted Esper by tweet, sparking a wave of Pentagon resignations.

Departures include senior politician James Anderson, senior agency intelligence official Joseph Kernan and Esper’s chief of staff Jen Stewart. On Tuesday, the three submitted letters announcing their resignations, with immediate effect.

Empty spaces raise concerns that the administration will decide to fill the department with loyalists who will not oppose controversial executive actions in the 11 weeks before Trump is due to step down.

– Updated at 15:41



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