Donald Trump hasn’t ordered the Pentagon to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, a White House spokesman said, contradicting reports last week that he’s directed the military to pull 7,000 soldiers out of a conflict he’s long criticized.
“The president has not made a determination to drawdown U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and he has not directed the Department of Defense to begin the process of withdrawing U.S. personnel from Afghanistan,” Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said in an emailed statement on Friday.
The statement came more than a week after a U.S. defense official, who asked not to be identified discussing the troop plans, said the Pentagon will withdraw 7,000 of about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan. That decision was widely reported in media outlets, including by Bloomberg News.
But the U.S. commander of international forces in Afghanistan, General Scott Miller, said Sunday he hadn’t received any orders to change troop levels in the country, according to Voice of America — a statement the NSC appeared to belatedly confirm on Friday.