National security adviser Robert O’Brien insisted on Friday President TrumpDonald John Trump investigates whether Hunter Biden’s suspected emails are linked to foreign intelligence operations: report Six acquisitions from Trump and dueling town hall of Biden Biden gets sharp contrast to Trump in low town town hall ordered a drop in Afghanistan with 2,500 troops starting next year, returning criticism from top generals in the military.
“I can guarantee you that is the plan of the president of the United States,”; O’Brien said at a virtual event hosted by the Aspen Security Forum. “That’s the order of the rulers. That’s not speculation.”
“My staff is the president of the United States, so I don’t have the skills to think,” O’Brien added later in the event. “So other people may interpret what I say is speculation or not, but I did not think then, I do not guess now. And so when I speak, I speak for the president. And I think. that’s what the Pentagon is moving and doing. “
O’Brien responded to comments a week earlier from Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark MilleyMark MilleyOvernight Defense: National Guard says no federal requests for election security assistance | Dems accuse VA head of misuse of resources | Army officer links COVID-19 with soldiers’ suicide questions Esper questions about military involvement in Army secretary’s election: No request for military intervention in election turmoil, which removed the announcement of the national security adviser last week about the drawdown as speculation.
“I think Robert O’BrienRobert O’BrienOvernight Defense: Pentagon IG to audit the use of COVID-19 funds to contractors | Dems are optimistic about blocking Trump’s withdrawal from Germany | Obama criticizes Trump on foreign policy Overnight Defense: Milley talks about Afghanistan, election disputes in quarantine | US military attacks Taliban to defend Afghan forces | Trump administration pushes Taiwan’s arms sale Top overall avoidance plans in Afghanistan after Trump tweets MORE or anyone else can think as they see fit. I will not join the speculation, ”Milley told NPR in an interview.
The recurrence will come as Trump sows confusion around his plans for Afghanistan.
The U.S. military is in the process of dropping 4,500 troops into Afghanistan, a target Trump and other administration officials have said will hit Election Day.
Last week in a speech, O’Brien announced the fall of 2,500 troops in early 2021. But hours later, Trump sent a tweet indicating that he wanted all US troops in Afghanistan. by the end of this year.
“We should have a small number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan at home at Christmas,” Trump tweeted.
The translation into the tweet became clear whether Trump actually ordered a retreat or tried to appeal to voters in the final presidential campaign claiming he was fulfilling his promise to end the so-called eternal wars.
On Friday, O’Brien framed Trump’s tweet as a wish, but suggested it was not yet an order.
“I think what the president is doing is expressing the same desire that I think every president since the Revolutionary War has said,” O’Brien said. “Whenever we are at war, whether in Revolutionary War or Civil War or World War I or World War II, all presidents, all GIs want troops to come home for Christmas.”
“Ultimately, if this negotiations between Afghanistan can work properly, there will be nothing more than for our troops to return home for Christmas,” he added. “We’re on a path now that looks like 4,500 this fall and a smaller number in January and February. But if conditions allow, look, we want to get people out sooner, and I think that’s the goal. announced by the president. “
Both a full setback and O’Brien’s withdrawal are contrary to the assurances of other officials that they will review ground conditions before dropping below 4,500 troops.
The Trump administration’s deal with the Taliban, signed in February, calls for a full US withdrawal in May 2021. But the agreement stipulates that this will only happen if the Taliban maintains its commitment to reject safe haven in al Qaeda and other terrorist groups plot to attack the west. U.S. military officials have previously said the Taliban have not harmed al Qaeda.
Updated at 11:43