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US to cut troop levels in Afghanistan to 4,500

US to cut troop levels in Afghanistan to 4,500

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Sep 10, 2020 - 08:16

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Amid frenetic efforts to start intra-Afghan peace talks, the US military plans to reduce its troop levels in Afghanistaninfo-icon to 4,500 by November.

Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of US Central Command, told reporters on Wednesday: “We’re on a glide slope to be at 4,500 by the November timeframe.”

The path to troop reduction in the war-devastated country be determined in part by the military’s ability to get equipment out of Afghanistan, the Voice of America quoted him as saying

Gen. McKenzie remarked: “At 4,500 we’re still going to be able to accomplish the core tasks that we want to accomplish. And we’ve shown more than ample goodwill and willingness to demonstrate that we don’t want to be an occupying force in this country.

“But we do have strategic interests -- vital interests -- that compel us to be certain that these entities, such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS, can’t be guests there to attack the US,” he added.

In June this year, the US cut its military presence in Afghanistan to 8,600, in line with President Donald Trump’s election campaign commitment.

The announcement comes as the Afghan government and the Talibaninfo-icon are poised to launch direct peace negotiations in Doha within days.

McKenzie said the troop cut in Iraq from about 5,200 to 3,000 showed the Trump administration’s confidence in the ability of Iraqi security forces to ward off the threat from the Islamic State.

“In recognition of the great progress the Iraqi forces have made … the US has decided to reduce our troop presence in Iraq in September,” McKenzie said in a statement from his office.

PANinfo-icon Monitor/mud

 

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