Pentagon announces troop reduction in Afghanistan and Iraq
The US troop presence in Afghanistan and Iraq will be reduced to 2,500 in each country by mid-January, US acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller announced on Tuesday.
Acting Defense Secretary #Christopher_Miller, who Trump installed last week after firing Mark Esper, confirmed.
“By Jan. 15, 2021, our forces, their size in Afghanistan, will be 2,500 troops. Our force size in Iraq will also be 2,500 by that same date,” Miller told reporters.
US Acting Secretary of Defence Christopher Miller also phoned President Ghani and discussed the decision and the Afghan peace process.
“Both sides talked about the peace process, strengthening mutual relations, and continued meaningful U.S. military support to the Afghan Security and Defense Forces.” Presidential palace said.
Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was also present in this telephone call, palace said.
Yesterday Afghan Acting defense minister Assadullah Khalid told parliament that although he does not believe a full withdrawal of foreign forces will happen, the ANDSF are fully prepared to defend their country.
This comes after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday warned against a hasty withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and said the price for leaving too soon could “be very high”.
NATO currently has less than 12,000 troops from dozens of countries in Afghanistan, while the US is now down to around 4,500.
Stoltenberg said that “even with further US reductions, NATO will continue its mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces. We are also committed to funding them through 2024.”
Meanwhile, according to a Pentagon watchdog report published in “The Hill” reported that the Taliban has conducted a “small number” of attacks against US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan despite its agreement with the Trump administration banning such attacks, a Pentagon watchdog said in a report released Tuesday.
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