U.S. Eyes Plans to Cut Diplomatic Staff in Afghanistan, Iraq by Robbie Gramer - Foreign Policy
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 to withdraw U.S. military forces from Afghanistan.
Once obscure diplomatic outposts, the U.S. embassies in Kabul and Baghdad ballooned into the largest and costliest diplomatic missions in the world following U.S. military interventions there.
Diplomats comprise only a portion of embassy personnel in both Kabul and Baghdad, which includes officials from other federal agencies, contractors, and security staff…