President Donald Trump is urging his national security advisers to remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
The president is putting pressure on the issue as health experts project that the country will soon see a viral spread of the coronavirus. National security officials told NBC that the president complains almost daily about troops still being in the country.
For months, the US government has been calling troops home. However, about 8,600 troops are expected to still be in Afghanistan in mid-July, according to media reports.
Trump said the removal isn’t fast enough. Health experts expect the country to be racked by the coronavirus. Although the number of confirmed cases is relatively low, health officials believe that the country could be under-reporting.
Health experts worry that poverty will make the situation more deadly for locals and troops. About 55% of Afghanistan lives below the poverty line, according to a 2020 estimate from the World Bank Group.
In addition, health organizations have said that the health system is unequipped to handle the pandemic.
Plus, the country shares a border with Iran, which is struggling greatly with the epidemic.
Trump, who campaigned on the promise to bring troops back to the US, is trying to speed up the process.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad seems to be on the same page as Trump.
“Both sides must also accelerate the release of prisoners,” Khalilzad tweeted about the mediation between the Taliban and the US. “The war on COVID-19 makes it urgent and will also aid the peace process including getting intra-Afghan negotiations underway.”
Right now in Afghanistan, there are 1,703 reported coronavirus cases and 57-related deaths.
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