WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 17th November, 2020) A premature US military exit from Afghanistan could have disastrous consequences, US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.

Earlier on Monday, media reported that the US Department of Defense is anticipating an order from the White House as early as this week that will cut the number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in half by mid-January.

“The consequences of a premature American exit would likely be even worse than President Obama‘s withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, which fueled the rise of ISIS [Islamic State terror group, banned in Russia] and a new round of global terrorism. It would be reminiscent of the humiliating American departure from Saigon in 1975,” McConnell said on Monday evening.

McConnell claimed that a US retreat would reverse years of human rights accomplishments, embolden the Taliban and be proclaimed as a victory by those the United States has deemed to be bad actors in the region, including Iran.

According to McConnell, former US officials see the withdrawal as a “symbol of US defeat and humiliation and of victory for Islamist extremism.”

Earlier this month, then Defense Secretary Mark Esper said a classified memo to the White House warning against a rapid withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, media reported.

Trump tweeted in October that all US troops should be home by Christmas, only to be disavowed by US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien who said that thousands of troops were “on path” to remain there into early next year.

Trump has sought to deliver on his pledge to end the longest war in US history. After the United States reached a deal with the Taliban in February, the number of troops was drawn down to 8,600 in July, with another 4,000 troops expected to leave in fall. By early next year the contingent may be reduced to 2,500 servicemen.

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