US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned President Donald Trump Monday against accelerating troop reductions in Afghanistan and Iraq , saying it would give extremists a “ big propaganda victory .”
Addressing reports that Trump plans to announce within days sharp cuts to US forces in both countries, the Republican Senate chief said the US would be “ abandoning ” partners .
He added that the move would leave room for the Taliban to take control of Afghanistan and the Islamic State group and Al – Qaeda to rebuild .
“ The consequences of a premature US exit would likely be even worse than president Obama ’s withdrawal from Iraq back in 2011 , which fueled the rise of ISIS and a new round of global terrorism , ” McConnell said on the Senate floor .
“ It would be reminiscent of the humiliating America departure from Saigon in 1975 . ”
McConnell spoke after media reports said the Pentagon had received directives to prepare to bring back another 2 , 000 US forces from Afghanistan and 500 from Iraq before Trump steps down on January 20 .
That would leave only about 2 , 500 troops in each country , fewer than US military officials have said is enough to ensure stability .
Before he was fired on November 9 , defense secretary Mark Esper had insisted on keeping 4 , 500 troops in Afghanistan until the Taliban reduced its attacks on the Afghan government to show a commitment to peace talks .