KABUL: The US military has continued to withdraw from Afghanistan despite a new US law prohibits the reduction without the Pentagon sending Congress an assessment of the risks.
Reuters said that halting the drawdown could endanger the US-backed Afghanistan peace process that came after the February agreement last year.
Based on the Agreement, the Taliban want a complete US troop withdrawal by May in return for the insurgents fulfilling security guarantees.
In November, the Pentagon said it would reduce the number of US forces in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 by mid-January.
This month, the US Congress enacted a defense policy bill – overriding a veto by President Donald Trump – that bars using funds appropriated for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 to pay for a drawdown below 4,000 US troops.
The cut in troops cannot happen until the US acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller submits to Congress a “comprehensive, interagency assessment of the risks and impacts,” the report said.
It is unclear how many troops have been moved out of Afghanistan since the law was passed.
One defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the US troop level is already close to 3,000. The legislation also requires a risk assessment before the number of US troops can be reduced below 2,000.
The Pentagon said it was “evaluating” the impact the legislation would have on US troop strength in Afghanistan.