Officials say Trump to announce withdrawal of more than 4,000 troops from Afghanistan soon
White House Officials say that President Trump is expected to announce the withdrawal of over 4,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan soon, NBC News reports.
Currently, the U.S. has between 12,000 and 13,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan. It’s unclear when the withdrawal would begin, but officials told the network that it would take place over a couple of months.
On Thursday, Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzadsaid reportedly said that the U.S. was “taking a brief pause” in peace talks with the Taliban after a Wednesday attack by Bagram Airfield killed two Afghan citizens and wounded 70 more.
“U.S. Forces-Afghanistan has not received orders to reduce troop levels in Afghanistan,” a spokesperson for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan told NBC.
“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.”
Last week, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told an audience at the Reagan National Defense Forum that the withdrawal of troops would happen even if the U.S. can’t reach an agreement with the Taliban.
He also said the Gen. Scott Miller, the lead commander in Afghanistan, is “confident we can go down to a lower level without jeopardizing our ability to ensure that Afghanistan doesn’t become a safe haven for terrorism.”
The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.