The Defense Department announced Tuesday that U.S. troops have withdrawn from five military bases and reduced the size of its forces in Afghanistan as part of the agreement reached with the Taliban in February.
Pentagon chief spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement that "U.S. forces in Afghanistan remain in the mid-8,000s and five bases formerly occupied by U.S. forces have been transferred to our Afghan partners."
"We maintain the capabilities and authorities necessary to protect ourselves, our Allies and partners, and US national interests," Hoffman said. "We will continue to execute our counterterrorism mission while simultaneously supporting the 38-nation NATO Resolute Support Train, Advise, Assist mission and Afghan National Defense and Security Forces as they work to secure peace in the country."
The U.S. and the Taliban earlier this year signed a historic deal with the goal of winding down what has become America's longest war. The U.S. agreed to a reduction in troops in exchange for a commitment from the Taliban that Afghanistan will not be used by terrorists to attack the U.S.
The deal called for the U.S. to complete its withdrawal from the country within 14 months if the Taliban lived up to the deal, which includes commitments for counterterrorism and intra-Afghan negotiations. The negotiations have produced uncertainty, however, amid recent attacks by the Taliban and an impasse over the number of prisoners the two sides intend to release.
Data provided to the Pentagon's Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction showed that the Taliban increased its attacks on America's allies in Afghanistan in the month after the agreement was signed, according to a CNN report in early May.