Plan to slash US troops sparks concern in Berlin

Plan to slash US troops sparks concern in Berlin

Pentagon officials on Friday said they were unaware of the plan.

Meanwhile, according to a poll published by Pew Research and the Koerber Foundation in November, while 85 percent of Americans view United States military bases in Germany as important for American national security, only 52 percent of Germans say that the bases are important for their country's national security.

The cut would limit American troop strength in Germany to 25,000 permanently assigned service members, compared with about 34,500 now, the person said.

Earlier, US President Donald Trump was reported by the Wall Street Journal to have directed the Department of Defence to pull 9,500 US troops from Germany by September, with the total number of US troops stationed in Germany at any one time potentially slashed from 52,000 to 25,000.

"The plans once again show that the Trump administration is neglecting an elementary leadership task: the involvement of alliance partners in decision-making processes", Johann Wadephul, foreign policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, told Reuters. "The decision is now on the US side".

An Air Force F-16 squadron and Army support units are among the forces that would be moved out of Germany, The New York Times reported, citing unnamed former defense officials. Historically one of America's most loyal allies, Germany is home to the biggest USA contingent in Europe and hosts key overseas installations such as the Ramstein Air Base and the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Mr Trump has criticised Germany for not spending enough on defence.

Donald Trump's plans to withdraw more than a third of the U.S. troops stationed in Germany have been criticised in the country by conservatives and welcomed by leftwing politicians. The American-German spat escalated last month when Chancellor Angela Merkel gently refused to go to Washington for a G7 summit, declining President Donald Trump's invitation.

It's not clear what forces would be pulled if the plan is put into action. The U.S.is "committed to working with our strong ally Germany to ensure our mutual defense" and other matters.

At least a few thousand USA troops are in Poland now for an exercise which kicked off yesterday at Poland's Drawsko Pomorskie training site in northwest Poland.

The headquarters for U.S. forces in Europe and Africa are both based in Stuttgart, while the U.S. air base in Ramstein plays a major role in transporting soldiers and equipment to Iraq and Afghanistan. Representative Liz Cheney said the decision of Trump to withdraw the soldiers was misguided and unsafe for the stability of the US' interests in Europe given Russia's dominance in the region.

The Pentagon referred Axios to the White House for comment.

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However, US lawmakers have slammed the president for leaving the nation's allies in the lurch and imperiling the achievements the country had attained in Europe.

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