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Last Update: 3 Day and 13 Hour and 11 Minute ago
News code: 29119
Published Date: Tuesday 10 March 2020 - 10:13:03
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US begins troop withdrawal from Afghanistan: US official

US begins troop withdrawal from Afghanistan: US official
World  - US troops have started to leave Afghanistan for the initial troop withdrawal required in the US-Taliban agreement, a spokesman for US Forces in Afghanistan announced on Monday, amid political chaos in Kabul that threatens the deal.


The US will cut the number of forces in the country to 8,600, according to a statement by US Forces Afghanistan spokesman Colonel Sonny Leggett.

"In accordance with the US-Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Joint Declaration and the US-Taliban Agreement, US Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) has begun its conditions-based reduction of forces to 8,600 over 135 days," Leggett said in the statement quoted by US media.

"USFOR-A maintains all the military means and authorities to accomplish our objectives -including conducting counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda and ISIS-K and providing support to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces," he added. "USFOR-A is on track to meet directed force levels while retaining the necessary capabilities."

The pullout came as Afghanistan's rival leaders were each sworn in as president in separate ceremonies on Monday, creating a complication for the US as it figures out how to move forward on the agreement, signed late last month, and end the 18-year war.


The US official said that the troops leaving now had been scheduled to depart, but they will not be replaced. Esper has said General Scott Miller, the US commander in Kabul, will pause the withdrawal and assess conditions once the troop level goes down to 8,600.

The long-term plan is for the US to remove all troops within 14 months if security conditions are met.
The agreement with the Taliban followed a seven-day "reduction in violence" period that, from the Trump administration's viewpoint, was meant to test the Taliban's seriousness about moving towards a final peace agreement.

 

News Code: 29119
Published Date: Tuesday 10 March 2020 - 10:13:03
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