US Considering Plans to Cut Diplomatic Staff in Afghanistan and Iraq - Reports

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The administration of US President Donald Trump is considering the possibility of cutting diplomatic personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq as soon as this and next year, the Foreign Policy magazine reported, citing US officials.

"We are regularly hearing from Africa that we are outnumbered by the Chinese diplomats working on economic or other issues 4 or 5 to 1. We cannot continue to concentrate all that money in Afghanistan and Iraq", a senior US State Department official told the publication.

The publication's sources clarified that the number of US diplomats stationed in Kabul is planned to be halved by 2020. According to a plan that has yet to be approved, between 20 and 30 US diplomats in Iraq may lose their positions this year, and another 30-50 percent of the staff of US diplomatic missions in Baghdad and Erbil may be cut next year.

READ MORE: Failure to Reintegrate 60,000 Taliban Threat to Afghan Peace Deal — US Inspector

According to the magazine, these plans are consistent with Washington's intention to reduce military presence in the Middle East and South Asia in order to prepare for the so-called era of great-power competition with China and Russia.

Tuesday, October 3, marked the second anniversary of the US strike on a hospital in northern Afghan city of Kunduz, which killed 42 civilians. - Sputnik International
US Airstrike Kills 10 Afghan Children as US, Taliban Continue ‘Danse Macabre’
The US forces entered Afghanistan in late 2001, soon after the 11 September attack in the United States. The military operation was aimed against the al-Qaeda* terrorist group, whose members the US believed to be in Afghanistan. The Taliban government of Afghanistan was overthrown as a result of the operation, but it regrouped and remained insurgent.

*Al-Qaedai s a terrorist organisation banned in Russia

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