US to leave 2,500 troops in Afghanistan by January


KABUL: The Trump administration on Tuesday announced that the US will leave only 2,500 troops in Afghanistan and Iraq each by January 2021.

US Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller told reporters that the country’s troops from Afghanistan will be reduced from the current 4,500 to 2,500 by January 15 of 2021.

Miller said, “By January 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.”

The moves reflect Trump’s policy “to bring the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to a successful and responsible conclusion and to bring our brave service members home,” Miller said.

After the announcement, Miller talked with Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani and discussed the troop withdrawal and the Afghan peace process.

The Presidential Palace in a statement said that both sides talked about the peace process, strengthening mutual ties and continued US military support to the Afghan forces.

On the other hand, NATO warned of early troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and said the decision can lead to a resurgence of extremist groups in the country.

“The price for leaving too soon or in an uncoordinated way could be very high,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement Tuesday.

US President Donald Trump in a tweet on October 7 had said that all US troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2020.