NEW YORK-US President Donald Trump’s decision, in the twilight of his presidency, to pull 2,500 American troops from Afghanistan and Iraq by mid-January has evoked sharp reaction from influential Democratic as well as Republican lawmakers. 

“I am formally announcing that we will implement President Trump’s orders to continue our repositioning of forces from Afghanistan and Iraq,” acting Defence Secretary Christopher Miller announced Tuesday at the Pentagon. 

The Defense Department will cut the number of troops in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 and the number of forces in Iraq from 3,000 to 2,500 by Jan. 15, days before Trump is set to leave office. 

Miller also said that Trump’s decision “is based on continuous engagement with his national security Cabinet for the past several months, including ongoing discussions with me and my colleagues across the United States government.”

He added that he spoke with “key leaders in Congress as well as our allies and partners abroad to update them on these plans” earlier in the day.Pentagon to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, 

The announcement comes one week after Trump sacked senior leaders, including Defence Secretary Mark Esper, and installed a slate of officials who support his aim. 

Meanwhile, the House Armed Services Committee announced a hearing on Afghanistan on November 20. 

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, urged the Trump administration to carefully reconsider any decision to hastily withdraw US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq and to bear in mind the rule of law, US security and the sanctity of US alliances. “We cannot allow these countries to, yet again, become a safe haven for terrorists looking to do Americans harm. 

“Further, we cannot leave NATO and our partners in the dark. Any withdrawal must be conditions-based. Congress passed existing laws to ensure that any withdrawal going forward is not based on arbitrary timelines or political considerations,” he said.