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Tags: afghanistan | pentagon | taliban

US Quietly Reduces Troops by About 2,000 in Afghanistan

U.S. soldiers in Kabul, Afghanistan
U.S. soldiers in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Massoud Hossaini/AP)

By    |   Monday, 21 October 2019 08:25 AM

The United States has been quietly reducing its troop force in Afghanistan, even after President Donald Trump stopped peace talks with the Taliban in September.

Gen. Austin Miller, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Monday confirmed that the number of troops has dropped by 2,000 over the past year to roughly 12,000, reports The New York Times.

Eventually, the number of troops could drop to 8,600, according to American and Afghan officials speaking on the condition of anonymity. This would be roughly the same size envisioned in the draft agreement that had been reached with the Taliban before talks stopped. Instead of pulling troops out through a formal withdrawal order, the force is being reduced by not replacing the troops when they cycle out.

The Afghan government has signed off on the reduction, according to a senior Afghan official. Others wouldn't discuss the reduction or a timeline for it.

The news came as Defense Secretary Mark Esper traveled to Afghanistan this weekend. He alluded to possible troop reductions, saying the drawdown to 8,600 troops wouldn't affect counterterrorism operations, reports the Times.

Officials said the reduction could mean a shift from the military's mission of training the Afghan military. Trump has made it clear he wants to pull out of Afghanistan and end the long-running war.

U.S. military officials had already signed off on the troop drawdown in the draft peace agreement with the Taliban, which would have resulted in 5,400 American troops leaving Afghanistan over a period of five months.

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The United States has been quietly reducing its troop force in Afghanistan, even after President Donald Trump stopped peace talks with the Taliban in September.
afghanistan, pentagon, taliban
251
2019-25-21
Monday, 21 October 2019 08:25 AM
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