In a press briefing on Tuesday, Miller said the troop withdrawals will take place before January 15, 2021.
“I celebrate this day as we continue the president’s consistent progress in completing the mission we began two decades ago,” Miller told reporters, adding that the withdrawal decision was a “collaborative” one between Trump and senior US military leaders.
LIVE: Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller speaks to reporters at the Pentagon https://t.co/qd6KNq53fP
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) November 17, 2020
While Trump is still contesting the presidential election results, which have yet to be officially called despite major news outlets declaring victory for Democrat Joe Biden, it appears he will partly fulfill his campaign promise to withdraw troops from the Middle East before likely leaving office.
Miller said talks with the Taliban remain “ongoing.” The Trump administration previously signed an agreement with Taliban leaders promising a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by mid-2021 if they upheld agreed-upon counterterrorism measures.
This peace deal remains the goal, Miller said on Tuesday.
The acting defense secretary, who stepped into the role after the president recently fired Mark Esper, has made clear he is interested in seeing an end to US engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has gone on for nearly two decades.
In a message over the weekend to Department of Defense employees, Miller, a veteran, said he is “weary” of the wars and that “perpetual war” is the “antithesis of everything for which we stand for.”
“All wars must end.”
During his address on Tuesday, Miller also said he has spoken to members of Congress, as well as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani about the withdrawal and an end to the military engagement in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We went in together, we adjust together and when the time is right, we will leave together,” he said.
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