US to withdraw 4,000 troops from Afghanistan by the fall
The Trump administration is close to finalizing its decision to reduce its troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 early next year, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien has said.
The move follows a landmark deal between the United States and the Taliban in February in which the US committed to pulling all of its troops out of Afghanistan by next April — within 14 months of its signing — if the Taliban upheld certain commitments in the agreement.
The Taliban committed to a permanent ceasefire and a power-sharing formula with the Afghan government, as well as it committed to preventing terrorist groups from using Afghan territory to threaten the US and its allies and to break ties with groups that threaten the US.
The US which had already reduced the number of its troops from about 13,000 to 8,600 by early July will withdraw more than 4,000 troops from Afghanistan by the fall.
However, US officials at the State Department and the Pentagon have reiterated that any reduction below the 8,600 marks would be “conditions-based.”
The White House’s plan for the withdrawal will almost certainly be subject to review should Trump lose his bid for a second term in next month’s election.
Taliban and Afghan government-backed negotiators have agreed on a broad code of conduct to advance the intra-Afghan peace talks in Qatar, even as key differences between the two warring sides remain, three official sources told Reuters News Agency on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, many Afghan soldiers and Taliban fighters have been killed in clashes. Dozens of civilians have also died in recent weeks.