US to reduce military contingent in Afghanistan by the end of November

The US plans to reduce the number of troops deployed in Afghanistan by the end of November from the current 8,600 to less than 5,000. This was stated by the country’s defense minister Mark Esper.

The US plans to reduce its military contingent in Afghanistan to less than 5,000 by the end of November. On Sunday, August 9, Defense Minister Mark Esper said this in an interview with the American Fox News channel.

President Donald Trump made a similar statement a few days earlier. According to him, after the reduction, the American military contingent will be “somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000.” Currently, 8,600 US troops are stationed in Afghanistan.

Bundeswehr counts on US forces

The Bundeswehr reacted calmly to the statement of the American side. According to a spokesman for the German department, the reduction of the American military contingent did not come as a surprise to the allies and should take place in close coordination with partners on the spot. In the course of fulfilling its military tasks, the Bundeswehr can count on key US skills in the future, said a spokesman for the German Ministry of Defense, quoted by Reuters. Further steps will be agreed within NATO, he added. About 1,000 German troops are stationed in the Hindu Kush as part of a NATO-led mission.

The United States began withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan in March 2020. The gradual withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan is spelled out in the peace agreement signed by the US and the Taliban on February 29. In exchange for a partial withdrawal of US troops, the Taliban must provide assurances that it will fight the Islamists and begin peace talks with the Afghan government in Kabul. If the Taliban fulfill their obligations, the United States is ready to withdraw all its troops and the troops of its allies within 14 months. The agreement also provides for the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners.