US closes five military bases in Afghanistan
In a statement released on July 14, the Pentagon said that as specified in the agreement, the United States has reduced forces to 8,600 in Afghanistan.
“We have met this obligation. US forces in Afghanistan remain in the mid-8,000s and five bases formerly occupied by US forces have been transferred to our Afghan partners,” Pentagon said.
The US noted that its military presence in Afghanistan remains focused on capabilities- not numbers.
“We will continue to execute our counterterrorism mission while simultaneously supporting the 38-nation NATO Resolute Support Train, Advise, Assist mission and Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) as they work to secure peace in the country,” read the statement.
The US also called on the Afghan government and the Taliban to “reduce violence and embark on intra-Afghan negotiations capable of achieving a negotiated and lasting peace for Afghanistan.”
Meanwhile, the Taliban said the US-Taliban agreement was a zero-sum game for all sides.
“We reached a political settlement through negotiations which means it (the US-Taliban agreement) was a win-win situation for both sides,” Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban said.
It comes as the Taliban has intensified attacks on the Afghan forces in a number of provinces. In its recent attack on the NDS office in Samangan province, the militants killed or wounded dozens of civilians and Afghan soldiers.
The attack provoked wide condemns as the US Special Peace Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said that the attack was a “contradicts” to the group’s commitments highlighted in the Doha deal.