White House looks at scaling back U.S. military presence in Afghanistan

Unable to agree on a plan to send up to 3,900 more American forces to help turn back Taliban advances in Afghanistan, the White House is taking a new look at what would happen if the U.S. decided to scale back its military presence instead, according to current and former Trump administration officials.

“It’s a macro question as to whether the U.S., this administration, and this president are committed to staying,” one senior administration official said. “It doesn’t work unless we are there for a long time, and if we don’t have the appetite to be there a long time, we should just leave. It’s an unanswered question.”

The exploration is an outgrowth of a deep divide at the White House, where the president and his top advisers are reluctant to send more American troops to Afghanistan without a clear strategy.

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