Foreign Policy Digital

U.S. Eyes Plans to Cut Diplomatic Staff in Afghanistan, Iraq

Officials say it's time to shift diplomatic resources to countering China and Russia.

President Donald Trump’s administration is considering reducing its diplomatic footprint in Afghanistan as part of a broader effort to extricate the United States from its costly and deadly 18-year conflict, U.S. officials tell Foreign Policy.

The State Department is preparing to cut by half the number of U.S. diplomats posted in Kabul in 2020, according to three U.S. officials familiar with internal deliberations. It may also advance plans to reduce the number of diplomats posted to the U.S. Embassy in Iraq as Washington winds down its war footing in the Middle East and South Asia to prepare for what it calls an era of “great-power competition” with China and Russia.

The deliberations coincide with U.S. peace talks with the Taliban and assessments on how

In February, NPR on a leaked internal document from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul that called the outpost too big and urged a “comprehensive review” of its size, though the document did not outline the scale of the proposed cuts.

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