The number of American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq will be reduced to 2.5 thousand people in each country by January 15, acting US Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said at a briefing.
According to him, this decision was made in accordance with “the order of President Trump and the plan for regrouping forces.”
As Miller stressed, the reduction of the American presence in these countries corresponds to the United States’ plan and strategic interests.
Currently, 4,500 US troops are stationed in Afghanistan, and three thousand in Iraq.
Earlier, some media outlets reported that the Pentagon was ordered to speed up troops’ withdrawal from these countries before the possible inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20. American media give the victory in the presidential election to Democrat Biden, but the winner has not yet been officially named. Biden himself has already declared victory. In turn, Trump claims that the election is far from over and intends to defend the victory in court.
In late February, at a ceremony in Qatar, the United States and the Taliban signed the first peace agreement in more than 18 years of war, which provides for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in 14 months and the beginning of an inter-Afghan dialogue after a prisoner exchange deal. As part of this agreement, the US military left five bases in Afghanistan.
According to Secretary of state Mike Pompeo, the US plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by May 2021 fully.