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U.S. moves up plan to shrink Kabul embassy - sources

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics - Duration: 01:13s - Published < > Embed
U.S. moves up plan to shrink Kabul embassy - sources

U.S. moves up plan to shrink Kabul embassy - sources

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is accelerating a plan to cut up to half of the workforce at the U.S. embassy in Kabul starting at the end of next month, sparking concern it will undermine the fragile Afghan peace process, U.S. officials and congressional aides said.

Vanessa Johnston reports.

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U.S. moves up plan to shrink Kabul embassy - sources

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is accelerating a plan to SLASH UP TO HALF of the U.S. embassy staff in Kabul…Reuters has learned… a surprise move that some U.S. officials say could UNDERMINE PEACE TALKS with Taliban militants…which so far have made only meager progress.

Pompeo's order comes about a year earlier than expected...though sources told Reuters, the move was not accompanied by a justification.

One U.S. official said the embassy drawdown should be seen as part of a broader strategy shift….as the Trump administration moves from a focus on counter-terrorism to threats posed by Russia and China.

U.S. officials have separately told Reuters President Trump plans to withdraw up to half of the 14,000 U.S. troops now based in Afghanistan.

The Kabul embassy - America's largest diplomatic mission - currently boasts a workforce of about 1,500 and underwent an $800 million expansion just a few years ago… Analysts fear the reduction could erode an already strained relationship between Washington and Afghan president Ashraf Ghani.

In the meantime… fighting in Afghanistan has escalated in recent months, as both sides in the conflict seek to increase leverage in talks on a possible peace deal….




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