Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford appeared to dismiss reports that President Donald Trump has ordered the withdrawal of some 7,000 U.S. service members from Afghanistan as "rumors" during a USO holiday event on Monday.
- “There’s all kinds of rumors swirling around,” Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford told U.S. forces at Camp Dahlke West during the event there, Stars and Stripes reports. “The mission you have today is the same as the mission you had yesterday.”
- Dunford's comment came one day after Army Gen. Scott Miller, the commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, stated that he had received "no orders" to withdraw U.S. forces from the country yet.
- "I have no orders, so nothing has changed," Miller said during a meeting with the with the governor of the Nangarhar province. "But if I do get orders, I think it is important for you to know that we are still with the security forces. Even if I have to get a little bit smaller, we will be okay."
- NBC News reported at the end of November that Trump had planned on withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the 2020 presidential election.
- Just weeks before news of Trump's imminent drawdown broke, Dunford had warned during an event organized by the Washington Post that a sudden pull-out could prove disastrous.
- “Were we not to put the pressure on Al-Qaeda, ISIS (Daesh) and other groups in the region we are putting on today, it is our assessment that, in a period of time their capability would reconstitute, and they have today the intent, and in the future, they would have the capability to do what we saw on 9/11," he said.