With plans in motion to draw down the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 next month, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff defended that decision by outlining the state of the conflict there.
In addition to reaching something of a stalemate, where the Taliban can’t conquer the U.S.-backed Afghan security forces, and the U.S. can’t bring the Taliban to its knees, Army Gen. Mark Milley said Wednesday during a Brookings Institution event, the U.S. has probably done all it can do.
“We believe now that after 20 years, two decades of consistent effort, that we he have achieved a modicum of success,” he said.
Since the first boots hit the ground in October 2001, more than 2,400 American troops have died and nearly 21,000 have been injured, along with close to $1 trillion spent on trying to stabilize Afghanistan enough that it won’t again become a training ground for terrorist groups.
Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller announced on Nov. 17 that forces in that country would draw down from 4,500 to 2,500 by Jan. 15, continuing on a Trump administration plan laid out earlier this year that would bring the number to zero by May.