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U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 11, 2019. Photo by REUTERS/Leah Millis

Pulling troops out of Afghanistan early would be a mistake, general says

WASHINGTON — The Army general nominated to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs says that pulling American troops out of Afghanistan prematurely would be a mistake. He says the U.S. should keep a “modest number” of forces in Iraq and Syria to maintain stability.

Gen. Mark Milley is also assuring the Senate Armed Services Committee that he will give his candid advice to the president and won’t be intimidated into making “stupid decisions.”

President Donald Trump has pressed for pulling U.S. troops out of Syria and Afghanistan. But so far there have been few reductions, reflecting military commanders’ urgings to maintain the status quo for now.

Milley says he won’t be intimidated “by no one, ever.”

He has been nominated to replace outgoing chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford.

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