Trump to announce withdrawal of 4,000 troops from Afghanistan – report

Quoting several current and former US officials, NBC News said that the official announcement might arrive in the next coming days.

U.S. President Donald Trump reacts during a campaign rally in Dallas, Texas, U.S., October 17, 2019 (photo credit: JONATHAN ERNST / REUTERS)
U.S. President Donald Trump reacts during a campaign rally in Dallas, Texas, U.S., October 17, 2019
(photo credit: JONATHAN ERNST / REUTERS)
US President Donald Trump is planning to withdraw about 4,000 troops from Afghanistan and will make the official announcement in the next coming days, NBC News reported on Saturday.
Quoting several current and former US officials, the report stated that a timeline for the withdrawal was not defined yet, but it would take a few months to be completed.
According to NBC, there are currently over 12,000 US troops in the country.
On Friday, US Special Envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said that his team was taking "a brief pause" from talks with the Taliban after an attack on a crucial US base earlier this week.
Khalilzad had renewed talks with Taliban negotiators earlier this month on steps that could lead to a ceasefire and a settlement of the 18-year-long war in Afghanistan. But Taliban suicide bombers targeted a key U.S. military base on Wednesday. The attack on Bagram base killed two civilians and wounded more than 70 others.
"I met Talibs today, I expressed outrage about attack on Bagram," Khalilzad wrote on Twitter, adding "we're taking a brief pause for them to consult their leadership on this essential topic.
According to NBC, a spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said in a statement that “US Forces-Afghanistan has not received orders to reduce troop levels.”
“We remain fully committed to the Resolute Support mission and our Afghan partners, and focused on our key objective: ensuring Afghanistan is never again used as a safe haven for terrorists who threaten the United States, our allies or our interests,” he added.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment, the report further said. 
Trump has made little secret of his desire to bring US troops home from Afghanistan, where they have been deployed since a U.S.-led campaign overthrew the Taliban in 2001.
In September, before negotiations with the Taliban collapsed, Khalilzad said that the United States would withdraw almost 5,000 troops from Afghanistan and close five bases within 135 days under a draft peace accord agreed with them.
However, at the beginning of December, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper highlighted that any future troop drawdowns in Afghanistan were "not necessarily" linked to a deal with Taliban insurgents, suggesting some lowering of force levels may happen irrespective of the ongoing peace push.


Tags taliban