US to reduce troop numbers in Iraq, Afghanistan: Acting defense secretary

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Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller on Tuesday announced plans to reduce US troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying the decision fulfills President Donald Trump’s pledge to bring forces home when conditions were met that kept the US and its allies safe.

The new plan will accelerate troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan in Trump’s final days in office, despite arguments from senior military officials in favor of a slower, more methodical pullout.

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Trump has refused to concede his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, who takes office Jan. 20, just five days after the troop withdrawals are slated to finish.

Miller said commanders and advisers agreed with the withdrawal plan, which will cut the number of troops in Afghanistan from more than 4,500 to 2,500, and in Iraq from about 3,000 to 2,500. He refused to take questions from reporters.

Read more: US threatens Baghdad with sanctions over Iran-backed militia attacks in Iraq: Sources

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